The Shortage of EM Board-certified Physicians is Far More Pronounced in Rural Areas

Emergency Medicine | BCEMOne of the biggest problems facing the healthcare sector in North America is the shortage of Emergency Medicine physicians, and nowhere is this shortage more pronounced than in rural areas. This is a potentially significant issue for many reasons. For starters, despite the lower population density in rural communities, the Journal of Rural Emergency Medicine finds that rural populations have a higher incidence of emergency department visits. This puts a tremendous burden on rural hospitals, many of which are staffed by physicians who completed residency training in a specialty other than Emergency Medicine, such as Family Medicine or Pediatrics.

The problem that rural hospitals have is that they tend to be at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to recruiting Emergency Medicine physicians. And while more and more young doctors are choosing to specialize in Emergency Medicine, they tend to gravitate to high profile, high volume urban centers. As a result, rural hospitals are not only understaffed but their physicians as a whole tend to be older. As the Journal explains: “It is projected that the rural emergency physician shortage will become more pronounced as (the older physicians) leave the workforce faster than they are being replaced.”

Another challenge that emergency departments have nationwide is that many hospital organizations are beginning to mandate that their physicians must be board certified in the specialty in which they practice. This is leading to a situation in which physicians who have spent their careers in the emergency room and are more than qualified to deliver quality care are at a disadvantage if they completed their residency training in a specialty other than Emergency Medicine.

At the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM), a Member Board developed by the American Board of Physician Specialties®, we believe that highly qualified physicians with extensive experience and expertise in Emergency Medicine deserve the opportunity to become board certified in this specialty. That’s why we offer board certification to Primary Care residency-trained physicians with certifiable ER experience that adhere to our eligibility requirements found here. If you are a physician who has dedicated your career to Emergency Medicine and you are interested in pursuing board certification to validate your credentials to employers, colleagues, and patients, contact us today to learn more. The ABPS is the official certifying organization of the American Association of Physician Specialists®.

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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