The Role of the Legacy Emergency Physician in the 21st Century

Reaffirmed February 2018, April 2012

Originally approved June 2006


ACEP believes that physicians who begin the practice of emergency medicine in the 21st century must have completed an accredited emergency medicine residency training program and be eligible for certification by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) or American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM).

ACEP acknowledges that emergency medicine's rapid growth resulted in a workforce that includes physicians who are not eligible for ABEM or AOBEM specialty certification. These legacy emergency physicians, many of whom are residency trained and/or board certified in other specialties, began the practice of emergency medicine prior to the 21st century.

Many legacy emergency physicians have demonstrated their commitment to the specialty through membership in ACEP. ACEP supports its members who are legacy emergency physicians.

ACEP acknowledges that legacy emergency physicians, by virtue of their primary training and emergency medicine practice experience, play an important role in the current emergency medicine workforce and patient care safety net. 

ACEP supports the efforts of legacy emergency physicians who seek additional training and continuing medical education to enhance their ability to provide high quality patient care.

ACEP believes that the quality of care delivered by legacy emergency physicians should be a primary determinant of their hospital privileges and credentialing. Legacy emergency physicians should be subject to the same quality standards as ABEM/AOBEM certified emergency physicians. Legacy emergency physicians should not be forced out of the workforce solely on the basis of their board certification status.

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