Advocacy for Emergency Department Ultrasound Privilege and Practice

Originally approved June 2017


ACEP believes that hospitals should encourage the implementation, privileging and performance of potentially life-saving point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) examinations in the emergency department. As such, hospitals and hospital systems should not engage in the use of exclusive institution-wide imaging contracts which can restrict the use of POCUS.

Emergency department POCUS examinations enable emergency physicians to make critical diagnoses and treatment decisions immediately at the bedside. Additionally, POCUS minimizes complications during emergency procedures.

The American Medical Association approved a policy in 2000 that acknowledges the diverse use and application of ultrasound in medical practice and that ultrasound is within the scope of practice of appropriately trained physicians. Initial training, credentialing and maintenance of certification in POCUS requires significant time and resources for emergency physicians.

As with other healthcare services, emergency POCUS should be reimbursed at fair market value, and the billing of these studies should not be restricted by exclusive imaging contracts on an institutional level.

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