Dr. Mark Reiter has held multiple leadership positions in Emergency Medicine, including the Board of Directors for AAEM, AMA Council of Legislative Affairs, and President of AAEM Resident and Student Association to name just a few. Dr. Reiter is CEO of Emergency Excellence, LLC, a company whose aim is to improve emergency department processes through data analysis, benchmarking, surveying stakeholders, and the application of lean principles to optimize quality, efficiency, and satisfaction. Dr. Reiter is a rising star in the field of emergency medicine and is sure to be a leader for this generation of emergency physicians. Dr. Reiter currently practices emergency medicine at St. Luke’s Hospital in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
Receiving: You were involved in many leadership roles very early in your EM career, including serving on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Emergency Medicine, the Board of Trustees of the Medical Society of New Jersey, and on the American Medical Association Council on Legislation. How has your experience in these roles influenced you?
Dr. Reiter: I’d encourage all physicians, no matter what stage of training, to get involved with medical professional organizations or other organizations. Active participation helps you to see the big picture, which allows you to advocate more effectively for your patients and for your colleagues.
Receiving: You strongly support AAEM, what is the big difference between AAEM and the other national EM organizations?
Dr. Reiter: AAEM takes a very active role in advocating for the individual emergency physician. In particular, AAEM takes strong positions for workplace fairness (and combating workplace abuses) and protecting the value of board certification and residency education in emergency medicine.
Receiving: How has your MBA degree impacted your life as an emergency physician?
Dr. Reiter: My MBA has made me a more effective leader, both within professional organizations, or working within my ED to improve care. In addition, my MBA has been invaluable in preparing me for the recent launch of Emergency Excellence, the emergency medicine benchmarking and consulting company I recently co-founded with Dr. Tom Scaletta.
Receiving: What are some of the toughest issues facing the specialty of emergency medicine?
Dr. Reiter: Unfortunately, there are many tough issues facing emergency medicine, and most we cannot solve on our own without help from outside of EM. Overcrowding will continue to be a massive problem, as we have no national plan to deal with an aging, progressively sicker population, in the face of the fraying of our primary care system and a decline in staffed hospital beds. The lack of action on tort reform or fixing our broken reimbursement system will continue to compromise our patients’ access to on-call sub-specialists, especially to our most vulnerable patient populations. Physician autonomy is threatened by the continued consolidation of health insurers and the increasing corporate practice of medicine by for-profit non-democratic groups.
Receiving: How will emergency physician compensation be affected if this country adopts universal health coverage?
Dr. Reiter: No one knows. Emergency physicians see more uninsured patients than any other specialty, so many expect to see an improvement. However, in many areas, reimbursement from uninsured patients is on par with Medicaid or often better. If uninsured patients were enrolled in a Medicaid-like plan, there would be little effect. On the other hand, the federal government may decide to decrease reimbursement across the board to pay for the increase in the insured population, essentially putting the costs of insuring millions on the backs of the nation’s physicians, rather than the taxpayers.
Receiving: If you can change one thing today about emergency medicine, what would it be?
Dr. Reiter: Place a qualified practicing emergency physician in a position of power within the upper levels of leadership of every hospital, physician group, and relevant government agency. Watch how quickly things could get done – does anyone make more important decisions a day than an emergency physician?
Receiving: When will you be President of AAEM?
Dr. Reiter: We’ll see….
Receiving: What are the biggest challenges of having two young kids and being a young emergency physician?
Dr. Reiter: Keeping my wife happy – she works harder than I do.
Receiving: Any relation to Dr. Reiter of “Reiter’s Syndrome”?
Dr. Reiter: Nope – some other guy.
“The Meeting Room” is devoted to interviewing leaders in Emergency Medicine. Please email me with suggestions on people you would like to see interviewed or if you would like to conduct an interview.
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