Part of ACEP’s power as an advocate for emergency medicine comes from the passion and innovation of its leaders. Recently, Paul Kivela, MD, MBA, FACEP, who took over as ACEP President in October 2017, shared some of his goals for his presidential year and a few of the surprising challenges so far with ACEP Now Medical Editor-in-Chief Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP. Here are some highlights from their conversation.
KK: What were your goals prior to starting this presidential year?
PK: I’m a single hospital guy, and I’m pretty pragmatic. My approach was really to make the emergency physicians’ lives better. I’ve seen emergency medicine become more regulated and controlled by others; I’ve been focused on trying to help the organization take back our specialty.
I think we’ve been hit with a lot of regulations. A lot of things that we’re doing that don’t add value to the patient. We’ve seen epidemic levels of burnout, and a lot of this is lack of control over our specialty and the care we provide.
My goal was really to improve communication and transparency. I think there are a lot of people who feel as though ACEP is controlled by large groups. I am in a single hospital group, and ACEP brings tremendous value to me.
KK: Pragmatically speaking, what were some of the things you thought you could do, some of the dials you could turn, or the switches you could flip to help ACEP serve its members better?
PK: The first thing that I’ve learned in my time on the Board is that there are a lot of things that ACEP does that our members don’t even realize we do, so I’ve really worked hard on trying to establish transparency and communication back to the members on the value that ACEP provides to them.
I’ve worked for over a year and a half with staff on developing a new website that will be coming out at the end of this month. Rather than force something that wasn’t ready, we took the necessary time to offer something that will be of great value with much improved function.
I think medical-legal concerns have always been among the biggest frustrations for our members. We’re really going to come forward this year with some ideas that will provide some more support for our members so that they can practice with less discomfort and less fear, while doing the right thing.