Message to Medical Executive Committees: Physicians Deserve a Choice in Board Certification

Message to Medical Executive CommitteesWhen was the last time your medical staff bylaws were updated? Medical executive committee members need to know that the definition of physician board certification has evolved.

It’s an unfortunate reality, but many medical organizations today unwittingly deprive their patients of expert medical care. To understand how this is possible, one must look to those organizations’ medical staff bylaws that restrict physician board certification to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).  Over the years, such narrowly written policies have blocked numerous eminently qualified doctors who are certified by other boards.

This state of affairs has continued despite the fact that, a few years ago, the United States Department of Labor updated its Occupational Outlook Handbook to include the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) as an option for physician board certification. Previously, the Handbook listed only the ABMS and the AOA as certifying bodies.

As Elizabeth Snelson, legal counsel for the Medical Staff, PLLC, in St. Paul, Minnesota, says in a HealthLeaders Media article, “What we really want are well-qualified physicians. Is there anyone who can sit down and say, well, if you are ABMS certified, you are a better doctor?”

The history and stellar reputation of the ABPS underscores her point. The organization was created in 1952 by a group of osteopathic surgeons who completed allopathic residencies but were denied both AOA and ABMS certification—the former because they did not complete osteopathic residencies and the latter because they were doctors of osteopathic medicine. So, they developed a certification body that didn’t discriminate on training and actually tested the physician’s knowledge of their specialty.

Today, the ABPS maintains that same non-discriminatory approach, offering both allopathic and osteopathic physicians board certification and re-certification in various specialties. As the third largest nationally recognized multi-specialty physician certifying body, the ABPS has Diplomates in all 50 states, as well as Canada, Puerto Rico, and the District of Columbia, and many ABPS Diplomates have become leaders at renowned institutions.

Physicians across the country continually choose the ABPS because, as a certification board dedicated to patient care above all else, the ABPS values their opinion, lets their voices be heard, and reflects their core values. Simply put, physicians deserve to choose the board that best aligns with their values and fosters their career development.

“In seeking qualified physicians, hospitals should not discriminate against physicians who chose to be certified by ABPS instead of the more well-known ABMS boards,” says ABPS Chief Executive Officer Jeff Morris, JD. “What we are asking bylaws to do is get current with the current standard.”

If you’d like more information about the ABPS, our code of ethics, and our mission to offer the highest certification standards that meet the public’s healthcare needs while helping physicians achieve career success, contact the ABPS today.

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JUNE 26 - JULY 1, 2020
Patient Care Is Our Priority

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

ABPS provides a guarantee of a high level of competency. Not only has this been good for my professional development but it has assured my patients that the clinicians they see are trained to the highest degree.


Mimi Guarneri, MD, FACC
Integrative Medicine
I value my ABPS certification very highly because it is one-of-a-kind certification in Urgent Care Medicine under the auspices of a larger, reputable organization. I really enjoy the professional and personal relationships I have formed with other individuals in the development of this new board and appreciate the great lengths that ABPS goes to ensure and enhance the recognition of it's component boards.
Joseph D. Toscano, MD
Urgent Care Medicine
ABPS gives its members unique opportunities to learn and develop professionally. I have been practicing Emergency Medicine for over 27 years and have been privileged to be a member of this fabulous organization. Through ABPS I have developed tremendously in my professional career becoming a consummate practitioner of my trade, a physician leader locally at my hospital, in my region , at the state level, and a published clinical researcher.
Leslie Mukau, MD, FAAEP, FACEP
Emergency Medicine