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How the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine Can Help Mitigate the Shortage of Board Certified Emergency Physicians

Emergency Medicine Board CertificationThe Ginde, Camargo and Sullivan national emergency department workforce study for 2005 concluded that only 55 percent of the demand for Emergency Medicine board certified physicians was being met at the time. Even under a best-case scenario, the study estimated that it would take until 2019 for EM staffing needs to be met. Under a worst-case scenario, staffing needs would never be met. The intermediary conclusion that attrition, retirement, etc., would mean EM staffing needs wouldn’t be met until 2038 was not exactly optimistic, either.

In 2008, the workforce study identified a potential source of relief for the shortage of physicians who have achieved emergency medicine board certification. While 98 percent of “newer” emergency physicians had received emergency medicine training or become EM board certified, a large proportion of active emergency physicians fall into the category of Primary Care trained physicians with substantial EM experience.

Since 2006, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) has endorsed the recognition of experienced physicians who have spent many years providing clinical coverage in emergency departments. Yet, as larger practices and hospitals absorb smaller or rural ones and impose their requirements and regulations upon them, it has become increasingly difficult for these experienced and highly qualified physicians to receive hospital privileges and credentialing. ACEP has long held that these physicians through years of practice and continuing medical education have proven that they should be subject to the same quality standards as ABEM/AOBEM certified emergency physicians.

The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) and its Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) believe that these physicians have mastered the core competencies required to provide the best possible emergency treatment and deserve the right to demonstrate it – therefore, should be considered eligible to pursue EM board certification. ABPS and BCEM established a respected and recognized platform for physicians to earn emergency medicine board certification. Successful completion of the BCEM certification exam indicates mastery of emergency medicine experience and knowledge, as well as a professional commitment to adhere to the ABPS Medical Code of Ethics.

Like ACEP, the ABPS supports these highly skilled emergency physicians who are board certified in other specialties. We believe that the experience and knowledge gained by these dedicated physicians over the years deserves recognition, and that they, too, should have options when it comes to receiving that recognition and board certification in the specialty that they practice.

To learn more about how emergency board certification through the BCEM can help mitigate the shortage of board certified emergency medicine practitioners in the U.S., contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official multi-specialty board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. (AAPS).