Emergency physicians who are employees, contractors, or principals of a practice group, have certain duties and responsibilities to the group and are accountable to the best interests of the group. Efforts detrimental to the welfare of the group are inappropriate and may expose the individual to legal liability. Emergency physicians typically, but not exclusively, practice in a hospital-based setting. In nearly all cases, such practice is pursuant to a contractual arrangement on which practice at the hospital is based.
The legitimate purpose of such contracts is to ensure the efficient and reliable staffing of the emergency department (ED)or other practice setting. However, such contracts may limit or eliminate physicians’ rights under the medical staff bylaws and contain other provisions that may compromise the professional autonomy of physicians. Consequently, such contracts may harm the public interest.