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.

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

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
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