Emergency Physicians Strongly Oppose Legal Overreach into Patient-Physician Relationship

DALLAS, TX—In response to recent events—including legal rulings on how to treat COVID-19 and the legislative changes in Texas—the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), the Texas College of Emergency Physicians (TCEP), and the Emergency Medicine Residents Association (EMRA) express deep concern about the current legal and political overreach into the practice of medicine and oppose legislative efforts that interfere with the patient-physician relationship.

“Emergency physicians are bound by law to provide care for anyone, anytime. Trust is vital to the relationship between a patient and a physician to ensure access to safe, appropriate, professional and high-quality medical care, especially in an emergency,” said Mark Rosenberg, DO, MBA, president of ACEP.

ACEP is a member of the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and supports its recent statements about legislative interference.

Legislation like SB 8 in Texas undermines physicians’ ability to have honest, confidential discussions with their patient regarding their health. The law also opens a legal quagmire in which private citizens could take action against emergency physicians and other health care providers. 

“We will always advocate for the ability to discuss all treatment options, and the risks and benefits, in an open and unrestricted manner with our patients.  We will fight for this because it leads to the highest quality of care, it is what our patients want and need, and it is at the core of why we went into medicine,” said Craig A. Meek, MD, MS, FACEP, president of TCEP.

It is crucial that emergency physicians and other qualified health care professionals remain able to determine the most appropriate treatment options for their patients.

“Patients and physicians should be the ones making medical decisions about what’s best for them, not politicians or lawyers. We must not allow personal politics to threaten the sacred trust between physicians and patients,” said RJ Sontag, MD, president of EMRA.

The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) is the national medical society representing emergency medicine. Through continuing education, research, public education and advocacy, ACEP advances emergency care on behalf of its 40,000 emergency physician members, and the more than 150 million Americans they treat on an annual basis. For more information, visit www.acep.org and www.emergencyphysicians.org

Contact: Steve Arnoff | sarnoff@acep.org | Twitter @EmergencyDocs

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