American Academy of Emergency Medicine

Position Statement on Emergency Physician-to-Patient ED Staffing Ratios

Whereas the volume of ED visits continues to rise and now exceeds 100 million in the United States annually; and

Whereas the scope of Emergency Medicine requires a high intensity of service for many conditions, especially during the first hour of treatment; and

Whereas emergency medicine involves patient evaluation, interval assessments, complex decision-making, time-intensive procedures, care coordination with primary care and consulting physicians, chart documentation, aftercare education, and inter-facility transfers; and

Whereas emergency patient work-ups are getting more involved due to admission prevention strategies of managed care organizations; and

Whereas emergency physicians provide a vital role in medical error reduction in one of the highest risk areas (according to the Institute of Medicine);

Therefore be it resolved that AAEM asserts that, as a guideline for comprehensive, moderate acuity emergency departments, the emergency physician staffing ratio should be based on the rate of patient influx such that the rate of 2.5 patients per physician per hour is not exceeded.