Protecting Emergency Physicians in the Shifting Landscape of Corporatization in Health Care

Consolidation and corporate investment in medicine are rapidly changing the health care landscape.

The past two years of the COVID-19 pandemic, in particular, have driven many to question the outsized impact of horizontal consolidation and vertical mergers and acquisitions on emergency physicians and their patients.

Yet there is no question that changes happening today will impact physician lives and livelihoods for years to come.

Through more than 50 years of policies and advocacy, ACEP has fought to protect the autonomy of the emergency physician. But we are hearing from you, our current, former and future members, that ACEP should do more.

More to empower every physician to be able to make the decisions that they believe are in the best interest of their patients and their livelihood. More to uphold employer best practices and level the playing field for physicians who deserve due process, transparency in billing and fair compensation. More to stand up for and fight for what we believe in.

Over the past year and through our new strategic plan, your ACEP leaders have taken several bold steps to show that we hear you and will increase our fight for you.

Defending Indivisible Physician-Patient Relationship

  • ACEP leaders met with Jonathan Kanter, the U.S. Assistant Attorney General for Antitrust, and other key Department of Justice staff to discuss the growing negative impact of insurer consolidation on emergency physicians and the patients they care for.
  • ACEP sent a formal letter commenting on the FTC and DOJ's proposed updates to guidelines used to assess health care mergers. ACEP supported the proposal to more closely examine the labor impacts of health care mergers as well as lowered thresholds for identifying potentially monopolistic market share.
  • ACEP's Board approved a new policy statement on the corporate practice of medicine, bolstering the organization’s commitment to protecting and empowering its members.
  • ACEP sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission in response to their proposed ban on non-compete clauses in employment contracts. We detailed how this unfair, predatory practice affects our members and expressed our support for finalizing their ban. Learn more in our public statement about this response.
  • The ACEP Board of Directors approved the ACEP Statement on Private Equity and Corporate Investment in Emergency Medicine, reaffirming our core beliefs and emphasizing the physician-patient relationship as the moral center of medicine that can never be compromised.
  • ACEP filed an amicus brief in the AAEMPG v. Envision case, upholding the sanctity of a physician’s duty to patients and the importance of allowing them to practice medicine without undue pressure from outside forces. Through this filing, ACEP is applying its might on behalf of our nearly 40,000 members in legal efforts to assert the physician’s right to autonomy in medical decision-making. EMRA also filed a Declaration of Interest in support of the ACEP position.

Protecting Emergency Physician Autonomy

Forces outside of the ED continue to have a profound impact on patient care and practice management. ACEP is standing firm to uphold employer best practices and advocate for due process, transparency and the sanctity of the physician-patient relationship.

Fighting for your autonomy is one of the ways ACEP has your back.

Learn More

News: ACEP Files Amicus Brief in CA Lawsuit on Physician Practice

ACEP Amicus Brief March 25, 2022

EMRA Declaration of Intent Amicus Brief March 25, 2022

Taking Your Fight to the Government

Earlier this year, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) reaffirmed its commitment to working closely with the Department of Justice (DOJ) to review and update the agencies’ merger guidance, particularly around vertical consolidation.

When the FTC opened its public comment period, ACEP staff were urged by the FTC to comment on behalf of its members. ACEP gathered more than 100 member stories about the impact of consolidation on their ability to do their jobs.

These stories were combined to illustrate patterns and serve as a backdrop for our recommendations in a formal comment letter sent to the FTC on April 20, 2022 harnessing the clout of ACEP’s voice. 

ACEP President Dr. Gillian Schmitz and ACEP Executive Director Sue Sedory also shared a preview of some of the collected stories during the FTC's "Listening Forum on Firsthand Effects of Mergers and Acquisitions: Health Care" on April 14, 2022.

ACEP Executive Director Sue Sedory FTC Comments - September 14, 2023

ACEP Executive Director Sue Sedory FTC Comments - April 14, 2022

ACEP President Dr. Gillian Schmitz - FTC Comments April, 14, 2022

ACEP's April 20, 2022 Letter to the FTC and DOJ

Blog: ACEP Responds to Feds on Health Care Mergers & Acquisitions

Advocating for Your Protections on the Job

ACEP strongly supports legislation under discussion in Congress that would uphold due process protections for physicians. Specifically, this legislation would enable physicians to avoid a mandatory waiver of due process rights, which many are forced to comply with as a condition of group employment.

ACEP is leading conversations with Congress, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and other agencies to make sure that the federal officials keeping a keen eye on provider and insurer consolidation understand emergency physicians’ concerns about the impact of consolidation on systemic issues and costs, reimbursement, and patient care.

For the June 8, 2023 hearing, “Consolidation and Corporate Ownership in Health Care: Trends and Impacts on Access, Quality, and Costs,” ACEP submitted a statement for the record detailing concerns about how consolidation within the health care sector affects emergency physicians and patients.

ACEP Calls for Stronger Protections for Emergency Physicians Who Raise Workplace Safety Concerns

News: ACEP Reaffirms Statement on Due Process Protections

Blog: Recent Federal Efforts to Address Provider Consolidation

Blog: The Flip Side of the Coin - A Look at the Increase in Health Insurer Consolidation

Employment Contract Resources

A Checklist to Help You Negotiate The Best Employment Contract

What to Look for in a Personal Service Employment Contract (video)

Standard CONTRACT Precautions: Identify Employment Contract Pitfalls

Indemnification Clauses in EM Contracts

Fairness Issues and Due Process Considerations in Various Emergency Physician Relationships

Contract Review and Other Legal Services Directory

Member Benefit: Discount on Legal & Financial Support

Member Benefit: ACEP Openbook - An Employer Database

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