Thursday, April 12, 2007

What's Going on with Young Doctors?

The dotcom generation has me perplexed. The Class of ’99, that is, those emergency medicine residency trained physicians who completed training before the college closed, were once a very vocal group. In their twenties, these residents clamored to close the college. That is, they wanted the American College of Emergency Physicians to close membership to practicing emergency physicians who did not complete an emergency medicine residency prior to 2000.
After a lengthy and contentious debate, ACEP did indeed limit its active membership by requiring emergency medicine residency training of all physicians who joined after the year 2000.

Eight years later, these same physicians are established in their practices, and fifty percent of them have abandoned the college that closed the doors FOR THEM. ACEP established a 3 year tiered system of dues for new graduates, saving them from the sticker shock of professional dues. The Young Physicians Section was established to give young doctors a voice in the college and a forum for support and exchange of ideas. Now the time has come for this generation of physicians to pay back (or forward) ……..and they’re not doing it. Why is that?

I don’t have the space in this blog to fully include everything that ACEP does for the members. Let me just address the number one reason that I am given when I ask why eligible physicians are not members…….money. Because of ACEP activities, reimbursement for all emergency physicians will increase by 7% this year. According to the Certified Compensation Professional’s 2006 salary survey, emergency physicians average $214,720 annual salary in 2006. Simple mathematics concludes that 7 percent of $214,720 is $15,000. That will pay for ACEP dues AND chapter dues for fifteen years.

Being a professional means being more than being someone who punches a clock. It means a life-long commitment to a career. It means participating with your peers in an organization that promotes growth and development of your specialty. For us, it means being part of a group dedicated to improving healthcare for everyone.

Time to grow up.


Anonymous said...

Well said. Symptoms of the "me generation" are appearing on many fronts. Time for the pendulum to swing back the other way!

Val Jones said...

I found at least one EM blogger who's grateful for ACEP:

I hope you succeed in turning around the JCAHO debacle! :)

Charity Doc said...

After...oh...I'd say about 7 years absence...I just rejoined ACEP again (As well as AAEM after ~4 yrs absence). Aren't ya proud of me? I figured since ACEP continues to mail me monthly publications and such, I ought to join again.

Here's the one issue that I think ACEP should fight hard for...sovereign immunity for all physicians having to cover patients under EMTALA. Not just EM but all specialties, esp. the surgical ones. In my area, over the course of 2 year, we just lost 6 general surgeons, 2 neurosurgeons, the only retinal opthalmologist in the area, several ENTs, OMFS and 2 plastic surgeons because of unattached ED coverage. It's understandable, the volume at my hospital is horrendous, the acuity and liability too high, the reimbursement rate is paltry due to the hoards of indigent cases typical of any county hospital. Unfortunately, ours is not an academic center affiliated with a university. We fend for ourselves here. The hospital is paying for a hospitalist program but wouldn't pay for surgical coverages. As a result, the surgeons banded together and either left the area, or only take coverage at the much less busier and smaller private hospitals around town. Outpatient surgical centers are popping up like weeds as the orthopods, ENTs, plastic surgeons, urologists, etc...keep on taking their private patients there. Even the anesthesiologists are packing up and moving over to the outpatient surgical setting because of more lucrative deals and a much less hectic schedule there.

As a result, these days when a multi-trauma patient hits the door by ambulance, and they do because we're the major referral center of the region, I cringe when the on call list diversion status for any of the surgical disciplines. Sovereign immunity for EMTALA providers would be one incentive to get these specialist to provide unattached ED coverage, esp. at county hospital providing an inordinate amount of nonreimbursed indigent care. How 'bout it, Dr. Gardner?

BTW, I think that ACEP should eliminate the requirement to join the state chapters in order to join ACEP. I see this as a double dipping on membership dues/fees. Some state chapter's dues are outrageous. Yeah, so what, I'm a cheapskate. AMA, ACEP, AAEM, local county medical societies, journals subscriptions...everyone wants dues.

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