ACEP Board: Statement on Rapid Transitions of ED Contracts

The following statement was issued by the ACEP Board of Directors on January 27, 2017

The ACEP Board of Directors and its leadership have had multiple communications with the parties involved and others affected by the recent abrupt emergency department contract transition at a health system in Ohio. The ACEP Board met recently and discussed the matter extensively.

Rapid transition of emergency department contracts may lead to serious disruption. Assuring that any such process is as smooth as possible is critically important to our specialty, and to ACEP.

ACEP is committed to promoting the highest quality of emergency care. To effectively achieve our mission, we are committed to supporting and protecting the interests of our specialty, patients, all members, residents in training programs, and academic and research elements of emergency medicine.

ACEP will be developing a white paper regarding best practices for how contract transitions should occur. When completed, it will not only be disseminated to the emergency medicine community, but also to hospitals and their administrators. We will also be publicizing to our members the availability of existing resources regarding ED contract provisions, negotiations, and other related materials.

We welcome the input of our members and others as we develop supportive resources.

  1. #1 by VICKEN TOTTEN - February 2nd, 2017 at 11:48

    I would like to thank ACEP for addressing this issue. Obviously, I have not seen the White Paper, not in the least because it hasn’t been written yet. In hopes of influencing the contents of the White Paper, I write a few words.

    In years past, ACEP was strongly influenced by EM contract holders, and at times, at the expense of the individual workers. I hope that such influence is safely in the past, and that the well being of those who do the work in our EDs is at the forefront of ACEP’s concern. An abrupt transition of this type when an entire department lost their jobs overnight for no fault of their own, would be illegal if the physicians were employees.

    One would have expected that the administration of the group had at least an inkling that there might be a change. The physicians, it seems from the outside, did not. The Hospital administration certainly knew. Not informing the physicians of the likelihood that their jobs would vanish, not giving adequate notice, and not involving those who have devoted their careers to the index hospital is disrespectful at best. Disrespect of the physicians, the learners and even of patients. It certainly was disruptive, and gave the residents a sense of insecurity. As their faculty changes, so did the rules for graduating, the continuation of their graduated responsibilities. Any pre-existing mentorship relations were abruptly severed.

    Although I fully admit I do not know the details, the external reports leave a distinct suspicion of impropriety.

    If our professional organizations do not appropriately represent us, the member physicians, then it would be appropriate for the member physicians to band together in organizations which DO protect their jobs, careers and patients from heavy-handed, arbitrary actions. As professionals, physicians have no Union to represent them. We do not usually enjoy the legal protections offered to employees.

    ACEP: please speak out strongly against this, and advocate for legislation which would protect the working physician against such outrageous disruptions in the future. Thank you. VT

  2. #2 by Gary Gaddis - February 6th, 2017 at 15:52

    I don’t claim to know all the facts here. I must agree that, as Vicken carefully noted, “…the external reports leave a distinct suspicion of impropriety.”

    However, I certainly hope that the RRC for EM puts this disruption of the residents’ education under their microscope with an emergency site visit for re-accreditation. It is difficult for me to understand how the program can remain accredited.

    As an academic, I have to ask, “How can a new faculty be suddenly put in place and be effective”? Further, are the faculty experienced academics?

    Then, if accreditation is lost, the logical next step would be a class action suit by each of the residents in training against USACS and Summa.

    I would think a jury would find the obvious COI between leadership of Summa and USACS to be compelling.

    Isn’t the First Amendment a wonderful thing?

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