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American Academy of Emergency Medicine

AAEM Takes a Stand Against Moonlighting Residents

On the July 14, 1999, conference call of the AAEM Board of Directors, the following position statement was approved.

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) strongly believes that the independent practice of Emergency Medicine is best conducted by a specialist board certified in Emergency Medicine. Furthermore, it is AAEM's opinion that the independent practice of Emergency Medicine by residents in training in Emergency Medicine or other specialties, commonly referred to as "moonlighting," is not in the best interest of the patient.

Accordingly, AAEM believes the 1998 recommendation of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) for states to lengthen the period of postgraduate training required for licensure is a positive step forward, providing there be facilitation of immediate licensure for those who are completing three-year residency programs. AAEM will communicate its support of the FSMB to the American Medical Association, the FSMB, the various state boards of medicine, and other interested parties.

According to AAEM President Robert McNamara, MD FAAEM, there was a good deal of debate on the Board of Directors whether or not to adopt this policy, until it was made clear that the position statement refers only to the independent practice of Emergency Medicine by residents. "We all agree clinical hours in the ED are a necessary learning experience for the EM resident," Dr. McNamara said, "but those hours should be supervised closely by the residency director or other board certified emergency physicians. This statement comments only on the unsupervised practice of Emergency Medicine by residents in EM and other specialties, a practice in direct opposition to the philosophies contained in the AAEM mission statement."