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VA Hiring PracticesVA Physician Shortages could be Mitigated by Adjusting Hiring Practices to ABPS Board Certification

An article in the Wall Street Journal in January 2014 shed light on an issue that is extremely relevant to America’s service veterans: Registered nurses, nurse practitioners and physician assistants could potentially be tasked with providing advanced care in the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) system, mostly because of a perceived nationwide shortage of qualified physicians. In truth, the physician shortage is exacerbated by inconsistent hiring practices in the VHA system.

The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) believes that the shortage could be mitigated if the VHA expanded its hiring practices for emergency departments and other open positions to make eligible qualified physicians who have achieved ABPS board certification. As it stands, there is no guarantee that ABPS Diplomates with board certification in specialties such as Emergency Medicine, Hospital Medicine and other relevant specialties will receive consideration to fill open positions. Simply stated: Omitting ABPS Diplomates from the candidate pool needlessly reduces the number of qualified physicians who might apply for open positions.

Why needlessly? Because by every standard, ABPS board certification is on par with the two other, larger, nationally recognized multi-specialty board certification bodies, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and the American Osteopathic Association-Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (AOA-BOS). The eligibility requirements for ABPS board certification are every bit as stringent as those of the other bodies, and the clinically based exams are developed using the most rigorous standards for measuring the knowledge base and skill set required to provide the best medical care available.

In addition, physicians who work at a VA facility and are qualified under the GI Bill can have their ABPS certification or recertification fees reimbursed by the VA. Yet, VA hiring practices remain contradictory in that they do not seem to lend equal weight to ABPS board certification. Rather, there is ample anecdotal evidence that some hiring agents are more inclined to promote or hire physicians who are board certified through other certifying bodies, which is monopolistic as well as inconsistent. The way to remedy that is to formalize recognition of the validity of ABPS board certification.

To learn more about how adjusting hiring practices at VHA facilities to be more open to qualified ABPS Diplomates might help address the nationwide physician shortage, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists®, Inc.