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.

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