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).


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Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

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