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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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.

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