JS: I get the sense from a lot of the younger doctors coming out of residency programs that ACEP is almost viewed as serving more the corporate or the business end of emergency medicine rather than the practicing physician. As a result of that, a lot of people don’t even belong to ACEP. I’ve always felt being a member of ACEP was a good thing. Do you feel that some of that is being promulgated in the residency programs?
ZJ: As a resident with a busy clinical load, sometimes it’s hard to appreciate the effect that ACEP has made in terms of lobbying to make sure that emergency physicians get fair reimbursement and are being treated properly within the health system. I think some residents may not understand the total impact that being part of ACEP has, and I think that one of the challenges is conveying that value to them as they transition out of residency, where their dues are often being paid for them, to demonstrate the value so they’ll continue to pay when it comes out of their own pockets.
RS: Part of our problem with messaging to younger people is maybe we’re not communicating what ACEP really does in terms of preventing things from happening in state capitals and preventing bad things from happening in Washington as well as making good things happen. Any one decision there can make a lifetime of difference for any one doctor and pay for their dues for a lifetime. Many may not know or understand what organized medicine, ACEP for the emergency medicine profession and the AMA in general, really does to make their lives possible, to protect their practice, and help them earn a living.
KK: Listening to Zach’s passion, it’s equal in magnitude but from a different perspective. Richard made a comment about the importance of “carrying the water” by advocating for and leading the specialty, and that resonates with me, and I’m sure it does with others, too. If the younger physicians out there are allowed to participate and carry some of that water, not as a burden but as an opportunity, then will they be more invested in the future of the specialty and with ACEP? We have to look for those opportunities. What would you want people to do so that what you’ve built doesn’t erode and is protected?
HM: Richard speaks about carrying the water, but I think you have to chop the wood, too. I think we have to remember that we don’t exist if there aren’t patients. I had to always remember that they were the reason why we were there, to take care of people, and as long as you remember that the patients are the reason you’re there, then all this other small stuff simply matters a whole lot less.