Common Sense

Letters to the Editor

Crossing the Line II

Reading your editorial in the September/October issue, you discussed CMG travelling docs (special ops, the hit team, the strike team, etc.) and you discussed how they make it easier for a CMG to attack and take over emergency departments. Often those “special ops” guys and gals are the ones that make it easier for a CMG to steal a contract from a long-standing independent and democratic group or from another CMG. This is a fact.

There is something else, however, that you didn’t touch on: special ops physicians make it so much easier for a CMG or hospital administration to deny physicians due process.

I know because I used to be a special ops physician for a CMG long before the term “specil ops” was even invented. Early in my career, I worked for a medium sized CMG (that is now a large CMG). It was a frequent occurrence that I would get a call that a certain ED needed someone urgently and that they would pay me an extra amount to go cover a shift or group of shifts.

I usually would get to that hospital and realize that someone had been “taken off of the schedule.” As a young and slightly arrogant physician, I would be proud that I was called in to cover for the “less than adequate” physician.

Nowadays, I regret that I was ever used that way and I regret that I was part of the process. I now realize that almost all of the physicians that I replaced at the last minute were denied due process. I am ashamed of that.

Due process is important. It is important that we stand up for each other. If you are reading this letter and you are a special ops physician, think about it.

— Terence J. Alost, MD MBA FAAEM

Thank you for writing. You make an excellent and important point, one I had not considered. I hope our colleagues who now fill your former role will think long and hard about the ethics of what they are doing and how it effects our specialty.

 — The Editor

« Return to Letters to the Editor archives

Cookie Notice

We use cookies to ensure you the best experience on our website. Your acceptance helps ensure that experience happens. To learn more, please visit our Privacy Notice.