Diplomate of the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine Alex Beuning, MD, FAAEP: The BCEM Offers Understanding & Guidelines for Rural Emergency Medicine During COVID-19

Alex Beuning, MDThe Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) has board-certified emergency physicians working in rural emergency departments across the country and is concerned about the potential disparity in resources for the care of rural Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Rural America has a higher percentage of elderly patients, who have an increased risk of severe illness from a COVID-19 infection. Current estimates are that patients with COVID-19 infection who are over 80 years of age have a mortality rate of more than 10%.  Rural America also has fewer physicians per capita and almost no pulmonary/critical care specialists to manage severe lung infections that could occur during this pandemic. Their patients often require transfer to urban centers for critical illnesses, but unfortunately, the ambulance and urban critical care service may be overtaxed, leading to delays in definitive care for rural patients.  As a result of these factors, the BCEM is strongly encouraging providers who work in rural communities to use their voice to reinforce the messaging about social distancing until effective treatments or an effective vaccine are universally available.

There are many sources of information on COVID-19, with differing recommendations. The messages are being spread rapidly through conventional news media, social media, and informal “word-of-mouth” channels.  Even “official” communications through the World Health Organization, the Center for Disease Control, and state and local health departments have varied, and occasionally contradicted each other. It would not be surprising if many rural Americans are unsure of what to do and what source of information to trust in this rapidly evolving health crisis.

While these formal information channels are critical to developing a unified response and spreading current knowledge and best practices as they evolve, word from a trusted, local emergency physician is a great way to reinforce the key messages we want our patients to hear. Local emergency physicians are at the epicenter of their community’s response and are poised to help local media sources and community groups translate the key components of our state and federal partners’ messages in ways that will best get to the highest risk groups in their communities such as the elderly population.

The BCEM is proud of the work done by its board-certified physicians who are providing essential care to patients during this pandemic.

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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