03 October 2010

ACEP post-mortem

I had a heck of a time in Vegas at the ACEP Scientific Assembly.  At least I heard there was some sort of Assembly going on -- I never got a chance to attend a single lecture. Not that I didn't want to, but word had gotten out that we are recruiting and I spent all day every day meeting with prospective employees.  That was actually a lot of fun. I am a "people person" and very much enjoy meeting people and getting to know them. But it was exhausting and a little overwhelming. No matter how meticulous the notes I took, all of the faces started to run together in my memory after a few back to back to back interviewing sessions.  Still, they were an absolutely great bunch of candidates and we are in a very fortunate position in having to pick from a large pool of highly qualified applicants.  I'm just glad that I wasn't competing against this sort of crowd when I came out of residency; I would never have been hired!

I may have missed most of the conference, but it barely felt like it since Gruntdoc kept us all apprised of his lectures with a fanatically persistent twitter stream.  I did make one meeting -- the Reimbursement Committee. That was kind of depressing as we talked about the dirty tricks payers keep pulling, about being a target of fire at the RUC, about the coming RAC audits, and about the nebulous threat of bundled payments for episodes of care.

On a more fun note, I got to meet up with a variety of EM bloggers: Dr and Mrs. Gruntdoc and Nick Genes, as well as Graham Walker, Richard Winters and the enigmatic WhiteCoat.  (I missed Symtym, unfortunately.) Enjoyed some drinks and discussed the knotty dilemma of how to refer to one's spouse on the blog. It was agreed that "GruntWife" and "Mrs Meat" just did not work!  We managed to steer clear of politics entirely (no small feat!) and had a great time.  I was very surprised when I saw WhiteCoat for the first time -- I had no idea he was a midget dwarf little person!  I joke. But he does have a surprising number of facial tattoos for a doctor.  Graham debuted yet another new web site -- Number Needed to Treat, which looks like a really cool clinical decision-making assistant -- and also took second place at Sim Wars.  I missed the Central Line meet-up in favor of my residency dinner, where I met a recent grad and health policy wonk who recognized me from the blog. 

I gambled a very little bit, about an hour's worth of "Let it Ride," which netted me a quick $150 profit, and any time you leave the tables with more than you sat down, that's a win. I ate some very nice dinners -- a parmesan-crusted halibut that was to die for, and some phenomenal if non-traditional sushi.  We enjoyed some adult beverages and danced the night away one night, which indirectly resulted in one of my co-workers sending a very incriminating email to my personal email account (shared with my wife) asking when she could come back to my room to pick up her clothes!  Um, what happens in Vegas....?

It was ostensibly ferociously hot, though I wouldn't know it because I never set foot outside the hotel except to step into a cab, and the AC was set to sweater-wearing temperatures in the conference center.  I was only there four days but it felt like much longer, I was so busy. Overall a lot of fun, useful, and productive.  I'm glad to have had a couple of days to recover before heading back in to work, and I'm already looking forward to San Francisco in 2011!


  1. Yes, Mrs. Meat isn't great, but how about Ms. Mover?

  2. Nice one! Now I need to write one up...


  3. Had so much fun, wish I could have stayed longer. Was great to meet you guys!

  4. So, would you consider hiring a wonderful and brilliant doc who also happened to be on the right side of the aisle?

    Just wondering, because the political bantering might take over the office, with C-Span instead of CBC's being discusse??

    Pattie, RN

  5. Pattie,

    I try not to get into politics (or anything controversial) during interviews. In face I know I have hired rock-ribbed republicans, but it's never something I ask about ahead of time. I'd rather have the best doctors, regardless of political leanings. And frankly, you're going to eliminate a lot of candidates of you exclude conservative doctors -- I think they may represent a majority of MDs at large.


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