AAEM Stands Strong for Physician Due Process Rights; Advocates for Hospital Employees

May 20, 2015

Read the full letter sent to CMS (PDF)

MILWAUKEE — In a May 7th letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) and the AAEM Resident & Student Association (AAEM/RSA) were joined by six other medical associations in taking a stand against the systematic violation of physician due process rights at hospitals.

Emergency physicians and a handful of other specialties are being denied the fundamental right of due process — defined as a fair hearing with a right of appeal in front of peers on the medical staff prior to any alteration, restriction, or termination of our privileges to practice medicine in a hospital — that is enjoyed by other doctors.

Due process rights are provided through medical staff bylaws, the Joint Commission Comprehensive Accreditation Model for Hospitals, the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act of 1986, and are supported by the AMA’s Code of Medical Ethics. However, a growing number of specialties including emergency medicine are increasingly being employed by third party staffing companies, who include non-negotiable language in their contracts with physicians that waive their due process rights. 

Without due process, physicians that raise quality of care concerns are subject to termination without a hearing. This is having a major impact on quality of care.

This is not about a dispute over physician contracts — it is a critical issue because it is impacting the ability for physicians to advocate for patients in the ED and beyond. “This is a widespread and growing problem and is now impacting half of all emergency physicians around the country, and it is affecting quality of care in emergency departments across the country” stated Mark Reiter, MD MBA FAAEM, president of AAEM.

The AMA agreed that “physician employment agreements should contain provisions to protect a physician’s right to due process before termination for cause.”

AAEM looks forward to working with regulators, policymakers, and other key stakeholders to ensure that emergency physicians’ due process rights are protected so that emergency physicians can advocate for their patients without the interference of non-patient-oriented forces

This letter demonstrates that lack of due process is a growing concern not just in emergency medicine but also in other specialties, and we are glad that other groups have joined in this effort to protect due process rights and ensure quality care for patients.


The American Academy of Emergency Medicine (AAEM) is the specialty society in emergency medicine today. As an organization, AAEM believes achievement of board certification represents the only acceptable method of attaining recognition as a specialist in emergency medicine.



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