Why Physician Board Certification Matters for Urgent Care Centers

Urgent Care MedicineWhat it comes down to for patients, essentially, is convenient access to affordable, quality healthcare. Urgent care centers have filled that niche and continue to play an ever increasing role in helping to keep Americans healthy and in treating their relatively minor cuts, abrasions, aches, pains, and illnesses. Ultimately, what these centers have done is provide a convenient, nearby, accessible alternative to patients with private health insurance as well as those covered by Medicare. In fact, so familiar have urgent care centers become that it is now necessary for individual centers or those owned by hospitals and other big providers to differentiate themselves in an increasingly competitive market place.

One highly effective way to stand out is to hire physicians who have achieved physician board certification in urgent care medicine from the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine (BCUCM), a Member Board of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). This is distinct from advertising “board certified” physicians who are not specifically certified through the BCUCM. Hiring physicians who are board certified in urgent care medicine adds authority and gravitas to any clinic, because these physicians have demonstrated a mastery of the core competencies required to practice urgent care medicine at the highest level. There is no more powerful or compelling argument to be made in favor of a particular urgent care clinic.

Urgent care centers are so prevalent on the medical landscape these days that it’s not easy to remember that when they first came on the scene in the 1980s, they were virtually unknown to most of the general public. If a primary care physician’s office was closed back in those days, the first thought was to head to the nearest hospital emergency room for treatment of non-life-threatening illness or injury. This relative dearth of patient traffic could be attributed, in part, to the lack of a cohesive marketing strategy employed by the urgent care industry as a whole.

As mentioned, urgent care centers have proliferated in recent years. There are more than 9,000 urgent care facilities in the United States, and more open every day. Many factors have contributed to this growth, including:

  • Long wait times for appointments with primary care physicians (PCP)
  • Crowded hospital emergency departments
  • Demand by patients for more accessible healthcare
  • A lack of after-hours appointments offered by PCPs

To learn more about the BCUCM, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.


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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