June 24, 2022

Emergency Physicians Deeply Concerned by Laws that Interfere with the Physician-Patient Relationship

As the Supreme Court overturns precedent established by Roe v. Wade, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is deeply concerned about the medical and legal implications of judicial overreach into the practice of medicine.

ACEP believes that emergency physicians must be able to practice high quality, objective, evidence-based medicine without legislative, regulatory, or judicial interference in the physician-patient relationship. This strong principle was codified in a policy statement approved by the ACEP Board of Directors yesterday.

“Decisions by nonmedical professionals that interfere with the physician-patient relationship are extremely worrisome,” said Gillian Schmitz, MD, FACEP, president of ACEP. “Politics should never compromise an emergency physician’s ability to have an honest discussion with a patient about their health or to evaluate all treatment options.”

ACEP’s assessment of the relevant changes to federal laws is ongoing and includes a review of the clinical policies impacted by the Court’s decision. Further analysis is necessary to determine the impact of these changes on existing federal laws meant to protect patients, such as EMTALA, which requires emergency physicians to treat or stabilize any patient who comes to the emergency department, regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.

“Emergency physicians are bound by oath and law to care for anyone, anytime,” said Dr. Schmitz. “As we assess the range of implications this legal decision could have on patient care and safety, our commitment to patients is unwavering and our dedication to leading care teams that provide high quality, objective and evidence-based emergency care will not change.”

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