Louisiana state university health science center new orleans emergency medicine residency program policies to supplement lsuhsc house officer manual

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Disaster Call

Purpose: To provide a uniform, consistent approach for coverage of emergency department (MER & FT) resident shifts left vacant or uncovered due to sudden illness, personal emergencies and scheduled leave of absences, including maternity and paternity leave. Disaster call may be activated for the community ED rotations and Acadian Helicopter Shifts, if necessary. Typically, if a resident must miss a shift in the community or on Acadian, they can make it up that same month. Disaster call may also be activated for the MICU.
Description: The back up call system will be addressed by two mechanisms: standard back up policy and extended back­up policy. These systems will remedy short term and long term absences, respectively. The short term policy will be utilized for absences less than five days, while the extended policy will be invoked for absences of five days or greater.
*Standard Back Up Policy
Residents on off service rotations such as, Elective, Toxicology, and all others may be scheduled for Disaster Call. If at all possible, and if the resident is needed to report for ED back up work, that resident will not be required to do more than 2 days of ED work. The residents providing back up coverage will be PGY II, III, IV.
*Extended Back up Call Schedule
If the resident's absence extends beyond the coverage of the standard back up schedule, the extended to five days or greater or unexpectedly is extended to five days or greater, one resident will be pulled from his/her rotation to cover the remaining portion of the month or the entire month if the absence is anticipated prior to the first of the month. The resident will be pulled from the rotation from which he or she is most expendable and which impacts ACGME training requirements the least. The order of preference is the same as listed for the standard back up policy.
*In the event of no emergency medicine coverage of the above listed off service rotations, the Residency Director and the Assistant Residency Director, in conjunction with the chief residents, will select an appropriate resident, or residents, for back up coverage.
Qualifying situations: Situations deemed appropriate for the use of the disaster call schedule are inclusive, but not limited to, the following events:

  • Illness

  • Family death

  • Maternity/ Paternity leave (as defined by LSU under the Family Medical Leave Act)

  • Suspension of hospital privileges

  • Personal hardship (evaluated on an individual basis)

  • Emotional hardship/illness (as defined by LSU Human Resources Dept)

Program Benefits:The program and administration will benefit from a pre determined back up call schedule. In the event of a crisis, the solution is available prior to the problem. This should negate late scheduling difficulties and most conflicts, while maintaining the pre determined resident man power needs of all areas of the emergency department.
Resident Benefits:The resident working in the emergency department will benefit from a secured resident work force in the emergency department. No resident will ever be expected to assume the responsibilities and work load of two residents. The resident requiring time off will not be responsible for making up shifts for the back up call residents. This debt is forgiven by each resident functioning as the back up call resident while rotating on the above mentioned services. No resident will be allowed to abuse the use of the back up call schedule system. However, if a resident requests coverage from another resident for a shift in the emergency department for personal reasons not deemed appropriate for official back up coverage, the resident must repay that shift to the covering resident. Furthermore, if a resident has an un excused absence from a shift in the emergency department, he or she must repay the covering resident for the shifts covered. Residents repaying back up call residents must work the same number of hours which were covered during their absence.

Disaster Call Scheduling

1.Disaster Call schedules will be made in accordance with the monthly ED Schedule.  Any special requests concerning disaster call should be made 6 weeks prior to the month.  The number of calls taken per month will be dependent on seniority and needs of the schedule.  A full month disaster call can result in a maximum of 5 calls, and a ½ month of disaster call can result in a maximum of 3 calls.  If extra coverage is required beyond this, residents working an ED month may have to take 12-24 hours of disaster call per month.  These situations are rare but may arise. 


2. Covering Rotations: Residents on the following rotations will be on disaster call for that particular month: Elective, Toxicology and Administration.  1st years do not take disaster call.  Disaster call is taken by 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th years only. 


3. Time Covered:  REMEMBER, the disaster call day starts at 7am, the morning of your date, and ends at 7am the next day.  This coincides with the shifts.  Even though M3 and F3 shifts go into another day, they started on the previous day.


4. Disaster Activations:

  • A disaster call activation will be made by the Chief Resident on call that day. 

  • The resident with an emergency is to call the Chief Resident pager- 423-2537.  Always call this pager when an emergency occurs or for any disaster activation. 

  • The Chief on call will have a copy of the schedule and disaster call and activate the disaster resident.

  • If you are on call, it is your responsibility to have your pager on AT ALL TIMES. 

  • If you are unable to be found while on disaster call, this will result in a penalty shift. 

  • The chief residents will serve as back-up disaster call in case two activations occur in one day.  Each chief will take one week of back-up call per month.  This year, each chief will be taking 3 months of back-up disaster call throughout the year. 


5. Disaster switches:  Email all switches to the Scheduling Chief Resident and copy ALL parties involved in the switch.

Disaster Call & Duty Hours

Under no circumstances, will disaster duties exceed ACGME duty hour guidelines. See Duty Hours - Emergency Medicine

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