Support of Honoring Graduating Emergency Medicine Resident Employment Contracts

April 27, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic disrupts nearly every facet of life in America, we continue to ask our frontline health care workers to lead the way in treating patients, risking their personal safety in the process. Now, the pandemic is threatening their livelihoods as well. Social distancing measures have led to an unprecedented drop in overall emergency department utilization, and many hospital systems are facing enormous financial challenges.

Many physician employment groups are responding with salary cuts, layoffs, and hiring freezes. Several graduating emergency medicine residents have had their contracts rescinded. These incidences have been reported in small independent democratic groups thus far, but no physician employer is immune to this crisis.

Rescinding emergency medicine physician employment contracts in the middle of a global pandemic, exactly when we need to remain vigilant, will hurt our health care system’s readiness. Now is not the time to cripple the front lines and devastate our newest emergency medicine attendings; now is the time to prepare for subsequent waves of COVID-19. It is the time to plan for the influx of patients who are delaying preventive care due to social distancing measures.

The Emergency Medicine Residents’ Association (EMRA) strongly encourages employers to honor their commitments to graduating emergency medicine residents and fellows. While we acknowledge the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the health care landscape, we ask employers to explore every option to fulfill the employment contracts already offered to graduating emergency medicine residents. We urge health care administrators to care for their frontline workers in the same way those emergency medicine physicians are caring for patients: with an eye to the common good rather than the bottom line.

EMRA is dedicated to supporting the training and employment of emergency medicine residents, who are already heroes on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Hannah R. Hughes, MD, MBA
EMRA President

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