Huber Matos, MD: Interventional Pain Management Certification Offers Anesthesiologists a Practical Solution
The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) is now offering board certification in interventional pain management to all qualified anesthesiologists. This certification will enable anesthesiologists with subspecialty expertise in pain medicine to be recognized by the public as experts in the specialty.
Pain medicine specialists who practice full-time interventional pain management can choose to certify exclusively in their field. Physicians who practice both anesthesiology and pain medicine can choose to become board-certified in both fields through the ABPS.
Other board certification providers require all pain specialists to maintain board certification in anesthesiology and pain medicine in order to keep their pain medicine certification active. At the ABPS, we believe this is unnecessary and costly for pain specialists who are primarily focused on the field of interventional pain management and are not actively involved in the practice of anesthesia.
Currently, board certification in pain medicine is offered to all specialties after completing a 12-month fellowship. This makes it difficult to understand what exactly the pain medicine specialist’s area of expertise is. An example would be a patient visiting a psychiatrist pain medicine specialist for a spinal cord stimulation implantation. This lack of clarity causes confusion for hospitals, patients, and fellow physicians. Our ABPS/IPM founding board members view this ambiguity as a source of significant confusion regarding the role of the pain medicine specialist. By contrast, interventional pain management certification from the ABPS is grounded in the recognition that the field originates from the practice of anesthesiology and all anesthesiologists have identifiable interventional pain management training during their formal training.
Which Physicians Can Apply for Interventional Pain Management Board Certification?
The certification is open to all anesthesiologists board-certified through the ABPS, ABMS, or AOA, with at least two years of active interventional pain management experience. Anesthesiologists who completed an ACGME-approved residency in anesthesiology and a fellowship in pain medicine or regional anesthesia are also eligible to apply for ABPS interventional pain management certification.