Each year brings new challenges for our specialty to face and a new President to the lead the charge. Michael J. Gerardi, MD, FAAP, FACEP, who took over as ACEP President in October, shares his views on a few of those challenges with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 34 – No 03 – March 2015
Kevin Klauer: What are the greatest challenges for emergency physicians today?
Michael Gerardi: Overcoming myths that have been promulgated over the last five to six years in the health care reform debate, such as EM is expensive and doesn’t provide great value and that patients should avoid emergency departments at all costs. Hearing such ludicrous stuff drives me crazy, and we have to stop this nonsense. I think our patients already know that when they are sick or acutely injured or unsure of what ails them, they’re going to get the right answer in the ED. You have heard me say publicly that, in America, we are the greatest diagnosticians in the world, and it starts in the emergency department. We are the prime comforters in times of crisis, we are great diagnosticians, we are the MacGyvers of medicine, and we know how to innovate from the perspective of access to care and putting together care plans.
The more we get involved and lead, as we are developing a qualified clinical data registry (QCDR), establishing relationships with other societies, getting involved with the big house of medicine, etc., the more people are going to look to us and say, “There is something about those emergency physicians; they just seem to be out there in front and to see things before they happen.” I want people to view us as visionaries about where medicine needs to go and what it should be. Our challenges come from being misunderstood and not being valued.
KK: What do you think ACEP members get for their dues dollars?
MG: I think the value they are getting is fantastic. First of all, they’re getting Annals of Emergency Medicine, one of the most impactful EM journals by the ratings of medical journals. Second, they get current information through the daily briefings from ACEP and ACEP eNow. But perhaps the greatest value of membership is this: if anyone who practices emergency medicine has an issue, frustration, or problem, I would be surprised if ACEP does not know about it and is not fighting to fix that problem already. ACEP is doing it’s best with more than 110 staff members, hundreds and hundreds of volunteer committee members, and thousands of section members, to improve our practice. I think one of the most gratifying things to do is to join a section or dive into a cause and realize, “Look at how many people think the way I do.” It’s really galvanizing, and it supports the case that you want to be a part of something bigger. It helps you enjoy your practice more to know that someone is working on your behalf to solve a problem that is frustrating you.