The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), founded in 1968, is the oldest and largest national medical specialty organization representing physicians who practice emergency medicine. With more than 32,000 members, ACEP continually monitors trends in the health care environment and analyzes issues affecting emergency physicians and their patients.
Emergency medicine is a state-of-the-art, technologically advanced medical specialty, with highly educated physicians trained to provide life-saving emergency care to adult and pediatric patients.
From 1993 to 2003, the number of visits to emergency departments increased 26 percent, from 90.3 million to 113.9 million, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. During the same time period, the number of hospital emergency departments decreased by 14.1 percent, resulting in dramatic increases in patient volumes and waiting times.
Emergency departments are obligated under federal law to provide emergency medical care to everyone who needs it, regardless of their ability to pay. As a key component of America's health care safety net, emergency physicians believe quality emergency care is a fundamental right for everyone and unobstructed access to emergency services should be available to all patients.