Allowing ED physicians not certified in EM to join will fulfill our mission—and ultimately help patients
Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak. Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.
– Sir Winston Churchill
Should ACEP reopen membership to non–emergency medicine board-certified physicians? Absolutely. Before we get started, this is not an issue of emergency medicine board certification and whether that is considered the gold standard. Rather, it is an issue about who can join ACEP, our professional organization, and whom it represents.
Why must we reopen the College? Easy—it is our mission. Have you ever really considered ACEP’s mission statement? Here it is: “The American College of Emergency Physicians promotes the highest quality of emergency care and is the leading advocate for emergency physicians, their patients, and the public.“
Consider who this includes and what it says. “Promotes the highest quality of care.” Where? Everywhere. For whom? For all emergency physicians, their patients, and the public. “Advocate for emergency physicians, their patients, and the public.” The same group is addressed here. One could argue that, in order to be an emergency physician, you must be American Board of Emergency Medicine or American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine certified or eligible, or members of ACEP as defined by the ACEP Board of Directors in 2011. If so, all of the patients and public who are served by the non–EM boarded physicians or physicians who aren’t ACEP members are left out, according to our mission statement. That doesn’t make sense. In order to fulfill our mission, we must embrace all emergency department physicians, their patients, and the public—not just a few, not some, not in certain places, not just EM board certified, but all the physicians who regularly provide emergency care, their patients, and the public.
Why must we reopen the College? Easy—it is our mission: “ACEP promotes the highest quality of emergency care and is the leading advocate for emergency physicians, their patients, and the public.
All across America, 24-7-365, there are professional men and women who cannot join our College but saddle up anyway and go to work in their local, often small, rural EDs—places where resources are often few, payment for work is often wanting, and recruiting is, at best, difficult. If they do not answer the call, who will? Often, these are the very physicians who cannot join our College. Like it or not, these physicians are necassary to fill the gaps in staffing at the nation’s emergency departments. It is the world we live in today and most likely tomorrow. These physicians, patients, and public need the full resources, advocacy, and support of ACEP. They deserve to be under the umbrella of the nation’s premier emergency medicine organization, ACEP.