Choice: Why Having Options in Board Certification is Important for Physicians

Choice: Why Having Options in Board Certification is Important for PhysiciansSome hospitals have begun to realize that choice in board certification is good not only for patient care, but for physicians as well. By giving physician options of other recognized boards of certification besides the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) in their bylaws, hospitals and health care organizations prevent monopolization of the industry and thereby encourage competition.

Just as with other industries, competition among certification boards should be encouraged to advance best practices. According to Health Affairs, the leading journal of health policy thought and research, “Competition amongst boards within a specialty could promote price competition, innovation in physician assessment, and the potential for increased signaling information for consumers.”

A lack of competition comes at a high cost when one considers the financial burdens placed on physicians. The average American medical school student graduates with a relatively substantial debt. If a physician chooses to specialize in a field such as cardiology, that debt would almost double. For a physician to earn and maintain certification with the ABMS would result in even more costs in terms of fees. Furthermore, some specialties require a separate oral exam, and each sub-specialty requires a separate written exam, and each exam comes with fees.

Maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements also make significant demands on physicians’ time. One study estimates that MOC study and preparation costs the average doctor several thousand dollars over ten years in terms of lost time. If physicians had more certification boards to choose from, heightened innovation for certification, re-certification, and MOC would be a likely result.

Many physicians might agree that MOC is problematic. According to a recent study published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 81 percent of doctors, regardless of specialty, years of experience, or geographic location, say that MOC activities are a burden. Only 24 percent agree that “MOC activities are relevant to their patients.” Additionally, only 12 percent consider MOC activities well-integrated in their daily routines.

Increased competition among boards could go a long way toward easing such concerns. Competition could give physicians more flexibility in choosing the board that best reflects their core values and fosters their career development. Competition could also encourage boards to remove the burdensome requirements that physicians face in continuing their medical practice, and this could lead to better patient care and, conceivably, the advancement of health care in general.

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) believes in giving qualified professionals a choice when researching certification boards. Our stringent testing standards allow a physician to demonstrate mastery of the core competencies required to provide the best possible patient care. Furthermore, we encourage our Diplomates to remain updated about new techniques and treatment methods to achieve recertification and to help shape the future of healthcare. For information about the ABPS, contact us today.

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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine