Beyond the Rhetoric: Primary Care Physicians Should be Recognized for the Vital Role They Play in the Emergency Department

Primary Care Emergency MedicinePrimary Care physicians are essential in emergency departments across the nation, but all too often these specialists don’t receive the recognition they deserve for meeting the needs of their community hospitals. In many instances, these men and women didn’t necessarily intend to spend their careers in the ER but rather transitioned into this role because their ER was woefully understaffed and Emergency Medicine-trained physicians were unavailable. This has led to a situation where thousands of Primary Care physicians have become leaders in emergency departments across North America, and these highly trained, highly experienced physicians deserve the opportunity to demonstrate their expertise in their specialty area. With this in mind, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) is pleased to offer an opportunity to qualified Primary Care physicians to become board certified in Emergency Medicine.

The BCEM Recognizes Career Emergency Medicine Physicians

In many ways, Primary Care physicians, as well as Family Medicine physicians, are ideally well suited for the ER – especially in rural areas where Emergency Medicine physicians tend to be under-represented. These men and women tend to have firsthand skill providing patient-centric care since they usually see a high volume of patients as part of their residency training. This can lead to increased patient satisfaction, which is something that hospitals have grown increasingly committed to. Moreover, Primary Care physicians usually have a diverse skill set and have a strong clinical background, helping to rapidly diagnose and treat patients of all ages and in all conditions.

To be sure, it takes a special kind of physician to flourish in the inherently hectic environment of an emergency department. At the BCEM, we think that physicians who have made their careers in the emergency room deserve to be able to show their patients, employers, and peers that they are leaders within their specialty area.

What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the BCEM?

To be eligible to apply for initial board certification in emergency medicine, an applicant must first satisfy the general requirements of the BCEM’s governing body, the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS). These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S. or Canadian allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.

The Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM) has its own eligibility requirements that include:

  • Completion of an ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC-accredited residency in emergency medicine, or
  • Completion of an ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC residency in one of the following primary care specialties—family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery—and at least 5 years AND 7,000 hours of full-time emergency medicine experience, or
  • Completion of an accredited residency in one of the following specialties—family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery—and a 12- or 24-month emergency medicine fellowship approved by the AAEP.

To learn more about our eligibility requirements, click here.

The BCEM is a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), the third-largest multi-specialty physician certifying organization in the country. The ABPS is the official certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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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.

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