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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I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine