From the Medical Editor in Chief: This is an important issue for our College, worthy of our attention and discussion. The ACEP Council has previously considered alternative membership categories for physicians practicing emergency medicine who do not meet the current membership criteria. In the past, such resolutions were not adopted but were not unanimously rejected either. I have spoken to several emergency physicians on both sides of this issue. It appears that it is time to continue this discussion. The following is the first formal submission I have received on the topic. It is published not as an endorsement of the position but as the beginning of a very important discussion. I certainly don’t know what the right answer is, but I hope through this discussion we will find clarity. Agree? Disagree? Either way, we want your input.
Send your comments to email@example.com.
—Kevin M. Klauer, DO, EJD, FACEP
When the same question continues to be asked, this might mean that the answers lacked solutions.
I have advocated for an expanded ACEP membership since day one. The argument has failed based primarily on “exclusivity in the club.”
Although recognizing residency training and board certification in emergency medicine as the standard is important, the masses seem to disregard the fact that vast numbers of physicians working as emergency physicians have no EM training but receive all of the educational and financial benefits that ACEP and the American Medical Association (AMA) provide for them.
Imagine our membership and lobbying numbers if we somehow included these physicians as members of ACEP in some unique category.
I joined ACEP in the early 1970s. In California, we needed a mechanism to go to Sacramento to lobby for money for Medi-Cal; Bill O’Riordan, Walt Edwards, I, and others did just that.
We realized early on that our efforts would require more sophistication, like the big boys in Sacramento, and so CAL/ACEP hired a lobbyist, Jim Randlett. Often, our legislative efforts did not bear fruit, but they did stop some bad things from happening—a continued theme today.
We also realized that money talks (and bullshit walks) and that a political action committee (PAC) would be necessary to prompt legislators to listen more closely, and so EMPAC was formed.
John McDade, president in about 1975, asked me to assume the chair of the Government Finance Committee during the Nexus 75 meeting in Palm Springs. I started marching on Washington, DC, with our part-time lobbyist, Terry Schmidt, again looking for money in some direct or indirect fashion.