Patrick D. Cichon, MD JD MSE FAAEM
Candidate for At-Large Director
Nominated by: Self Nomination
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose at this time.
There are many challenges confronting us in Emergency Medicine today: the erosion of Physician autonomy, increasing metrics, hospital & medical group politics, increasing physician burnout with decreasing wellness culminating in higher physician suicide rates. Average physician debt obligations have soared to about $200K though it’s not uncommon to have a lot more while MD compensation averages about $280K/yr, up 31% over 10 yrs (about 9% healthcare costs) but paling in comparison to the 93% increase in hospital CEO compensation from $1.6M to 3.1M from 2005 to 2015 (about 25% of healthcare costs). While our administrative and nursing colleagues self impose patient care limits, have lunch and rest breaks, ER physicians work sometimes without having any time to eat or go to the bathroom and stay longer and often take work home with them facing significant medicolegal liability. Well intentioned standards developed to help us improve patient care have sometimes been turned into weapons by attorneys to attack us and our colleagues.
There is a need to rethink our future approach to Emergency medicine if we wish to preserve the appeal, autonomy and value of our profession for future generations of ER docs. Medical degrees need to be affordable and have a reasonable lifestyle associated with them. In the emerging world of telemedicine, A.I. and the emergence of alternative Health Practitioners we need to be certain that our profession remains economically rational and relevant with reasonable lifestyles.
We need to be not only altruistic but realistic in the costs we incur for ourselves, our families and on account of future generations of physicians. We need to have the same rights, due process and protections as other medical staff members and union employees. We need, perhaps, to discuss and consider some of the same approaches that our nursing colleagues have used such as setting physician-patient ratios to ensure patient safety and make ER work and lifestyle manageable and decrease liability and overextension. ER physicians deserve the same protections as other staff, employees and practitioners in the various fields of medicine. We need to understand and contribute to sculpting liability and reimbursement regulations in telemedicine and AI so that we are appropriately paid and protected from unreasonable liability in these merging fields. For these reasons, I am seeking this position: to try to protect ourselves, our families and the future practitioners within the field of Emergency Medicine.