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2021 Emergency Medicine Workforce Task Force
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SEMPA Talking Points

SEMPA is providing its members with the following information in the form of questions and answers in response to comments and inquiries that we received following the announcement by ACEP of their workforce study findings and proposed action considerations. We hope that this clarifies our positions, and current and future involvement in representing the interests of EMPAs.


The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) publicized its findings from the Emergency Medicine Physician Workforce: Projections for 2030 study during a webinar held on April 9, 2021. The findings project that there will be an oversupply of approximately 8,000 emergency physicians by 2030.

ACEP’s previous workforce studies were performed in 1998, 2002 and 2009. Each of these projected a substantial workforce shortage due to the growing number of annual emergency department visits. To address this shortage, ACEP recommended increasing the size of emergency medicine physician residency training programs. At the time, ACEP recognized the utility of the increasing employment of physician assistants (PAs) and nurse practitioners (NPs) in emergency medicine to help meet the demand for emergency care.

In the last decade, there has been a notable shift in health care economics and practice models with the growth in emergency departments management by regional and national contract groups.  In addition, there has been an increase of emergency medicine physician residency programs, all of which have contributed to the projected surplus of emergency medicine clinicians.  

ACEP and the partnering emergency medicine physician representative organizations are now seeking a “solution to address market-driven industry instability”1 and have proposed eight potential considerations to “stabilize and strengthen emergency medicine”.

Soon after the announcement by ACEP of the Emergency Medicine Physician Workforce Projections for 2030, the American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA) announced the results of the vote to change our profession’s title to “physician associate”. ACEP and other physician representative organizations quickly announced opposition to the title change based on what we think are unfounded assumptions as outlined in our response statement. How this opposition and announced public relations campaign by ACEP will impact any attempts for us to work together on emergency medicine workforce initiatives remains to be seen.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Which emergency medicine representative organizations participated in the workforce taskforce?

Was there any prior indication that a surplus of emergency medicine physicians was on the horizon?

What are the eight key considerations that the stakeholders are proposing to address the oversupply of EM board-certified physicians?

Two of the eight proposed actions directly affect EMPA practice. What is SEMPA’s stance on the proposed considerations?

Why didn’t SEMPA respond to the AAEM/RSA statement? Why didn’t SEMPA make a formal statement about the EM Workforce Task Force findings and summit response?

What are the best ways that EMPAs can communicate with emergency medicine physicians and their employers about the findings?

What are the best ways to communicate about the findings with medical students and resident physicians?

What, if anything, does SEMPA plan to do regarding the task force proposed solutions that relate to EMPAs?

Additional questions should be sent directly to SEMPA.