Human Resources Concepts Governing Physician Medical Directors of EMS

Originally approved January 2017


Physicians who answer the call to serve as an EMS medical director make significant investments to provide that necessary leadership to an EMS agency or system. These physicians provide vital oversight of EMS and often perform clinical activities in the EMS environment. Just as the EMS medical director provides significant support to an EMS program or system, EMS must also appropriately support the role of the EMS medical director.

The NAEMSP, ACEP, and AAEM believe that:

  • AUTHORITY: EMS medicine is a recognized subspecialty practice of medicine. As such, the EMS medical director should be assured a scope of authority that encompasses all clinical aspects of EMS, is commensurate with their level of responsibility, and that is contractually defined.

  • COMPENSATION: The EMS service must provide compensation to the EMS medical director at a mutually agreeable value commensurate with the responsibilities held by the EMS medical director.

  • PROTECTION: The EMS service should ensure the EMS medical director has appropriate protection commensurate with their responsibilities and risk profile. Such protection must include medical malpractice insurance and liability protection, errors and omissions coverage, and may include line of duty injury and death benefits and hazardous duty compensation commensurate with the exposure and risk assumed by the physician. These protections must specifically cover the responsibilities and activities of the EMS medial director as defined in contract. Such protections must either be agency-provided or the agency should provide remuneration to the physician for physician-owned coverage. Securing these protections is paramount to the EMS medical director.

  • DUE PROCESS: An EMS medical director must be afforded appropriate due process if performance or professional concerns are identified by the EMS service.

About this Policy

National Association of EMS Physicians (NAEMSP)

American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP)

American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM)

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