ICEP Issues Statement on Emergency Physician Vaccination
The Illinois College of Emergency Physicians (ICEP) believes that all physicians who work in a hospital or health system’s emergency department must be included in that hospital’s allotment of COVID‐19 vaccine to their health care workers, regardless of the employment model used.
As hospitals have begun making plans for the distribution of their allotments of the vaccine, several Illinois hospitals and health systems have indicated that only health care workers employed by the hospital directly will be immunized. Unfortunately, if such policies are rigorously applied, many emergency physicians who are mission critical, frontline workers would be excluded. Hospitals and health networks often contract with medical groups, staffing firms, or corporate groups to provide hospital‐based physicians, such as emergency physicians, hospitalists, critical care physicians, interventional cardiologists and neurologists, and trauma surgeons. In fact, we estimate that in Illinois between one half and two thirds of all emergency physicians are not employees of the hospitals but contractors with whom hospitals have made agreements to staff their ED’s. These emergency physicians have no other practices and are the public face of their hospitals when it comes
to emergency care.
The Illinois College of Emergency Physicians believes that for public safety and continuity of access to emergency care, hospitals must protect the occupational safety of all emergency department personnel, be that in the provision of PPE, or vaccinations. Hospitals and health systems must work proactively to protect their emergency department patients and staff, and to protect the integrity of emergency medicine itself, maintaining a robust system which can absorb this winter’s storm of infectious disease. Illinois’s emergency physicians, like their colleagues nationwide, have been coming to work every day since the beginning of this pandemic. They, and their patients, have trusted that hospitals and health systems are working to keep every community as safe as possible. The Illinois College of Emergency Physicians expects no less.