April 30, 2021

Problem Solving: It's What We Do.

Welcome back to ACEP Lately. Before I update you on the happenings at the College, I wanted to share some thoughts on what I’m sure is on everyone’s mind – the EM workforce.

I want to thank all of the organizations and individuals who willingly engaged in the April summits. Sharing the results together with a wide-ranging list of hypothetical solutions in a public forum was no small undertaking – before, during and after the summits. However, I do believe this approach provided the transparency needed for stating such a large strategic priority, as well as the openness needed to genuinely call for additional, forward-looking input.

Regardless of what response this awakened in you – apprehension, surprise, anger, skepticism, motivation – this moment of disequilibrium challenges us on the importance of being leaders and being problem solvers. Seth Godin, a business blogger, is often quoted for saying that the two most essential skills we should be teaching our kids for the future are (1) how to solve interesting problems and (2) how to lead. For schools, that means giving children interesting problems to solve and the opportunity to learn, without criticism, through both failing or succeeding. More broadly, the World Economic Forum consistently reports that our ever-changing world will demand better skills in complex problem solving, analytical thinking and innovation, and active learning and learning strategies.

Even in my short time at ACEP, it is clear that solving interesting problems IS the work of emergency medicine. It is also clear that leading must involve listening to and respecting all ideas.

We opened up a Workforce channel on our EngagED platform to bring the community together to generate diverse and multi-faceted solutions. From now through June, we are encouraging ACEP chapters, sections, committees and others generate discussion and solutions through their own platforms or virtual meetings. But we are also turning that listening to action and will bring your feedback into a clear but fluid multi-organization, multi-year workforce strategic action roadmap. Stay appraised on all the Workforce developments by bookmarking this page, which will be updated regularly.

I have no doubt that the history of emergency medicine was forged through these same emotions in its most turbulent times. Positive change comes from productive disequilibrium. Working together, we can execute on today’s challenges and adapt for the future.

Now, let’s get into the updates:

Two big clinical updates I want to highlight from this past month:

  • Sepsis Guidelines: In our new consensus-based report recently published in Annals of Emergency Medicine, a multispecialty task force convened by ACEP in 2019 addresses controversies and opportunities for improvement in the early care of patients with sepsis in acute early care settings. The report covers principles of early sepsis recognition, initial care steps in the ED and out-of-hospital environments, titration of care and related controversies. This report shows the value of collaboration – it’s endorsed by AAEM, ACOEP, AOBEM, AACEM, CORD, EMRA, ENA, NAEMSP, IDSA, SAEM, SCCM, and SHM.
  • New Sonoguide: The previous Sonoguide was consistently one of our most-visited web resources. Now the Sonoguide is new and improved. You don’t want to miss this ultrasound guide for EM physicians.

Supporting EM physicians through this challenging job market is a key focus for ACEP. Our next virtual job fair is coming up May 20, and we’re continuing to add resources about job hunting, contracts, liability and more to the new Careers hub.

I also want to make you aware of some significant policy updates related to compensation and contracts:

Lastly, ACEP recently joined the AMA Scope of Practice Partnership (SOPP). The SOPP believes patients deserve care led by physicians, and it helps state and specialty societies in opposing scope-of-practice expansion legislation. If you’ve not seen it before, the AMA’s Scope of Practice microsite can be found at There you’ll find an interactive health workforce mapper, education and training modules on non-physicians, issue briefs, and media tools from the Physician-led Team Care and the Truth in Advertising campaigns. These resources are available to physician members of the more than 100 national, state and specialty medical associations in the SOPP.

We are gearing up for the Leadership & Advocacy Conference in Washington, DC, in late July. It will be our first in-person event since the pandemic, and I’m really looking forward to meeting many of you. After working the front lines for more than a year, our collective voice has never been more important. I hope you’ll consider joining us.

Sue’s Shout-outs

  • A huge thank you to the ACEP representatives who served on the EM Workforce Task Force. The analysis has been quite an undertaking, and many EM physicians stepped up to the plate. I particularly want to thank Taskforce Chair Dr. Catherine Marco, Staff Liaison Dr. Sandra Schneider and Board Liaison Dr. Christopher Kang for their leadership.
  • Thanks to the members of the ACEP RUC Team for their strong contributions in this important arena and for expertly presenting recommendations on the ED E/M codes for Medicare’s consideration in the 2023 Physician Fee Schedule: Dr John Proctor, Dr. Jamie Shoemaker, Dr. Jordan Celeste and Dr. Bryan Graham. 
  • Congratulations to the Health IT Committee for helping ACEP members navigate the changes in patient access to clinical notes through its recent webinar and helpful ACEP Now articles (here and here).

Thanks for reading.


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