The American Board of Physician Specialties® Urges the Veterans Health Administration to Put an End to Their Discriminatory Hiring Practices

Veterans Health Administration HiringNearly 20 years ago, the American Board of Physician Specialties urged the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) to reconsider a policy that incentivized physician board certification through the American Board of Medical Specialties. As a result, the VHA discontinued that policy and instead gave power to the individual medical directors to make determinations on physician pay based on certification, experience, and other pertinent factors. However, more than two decades later, the VHA has institutionalized hiring practices that discriminate against physicians who have received board certification from the American Board of Physician Specialties – the third-largest multi-specialty physician certifying body in the nation – from advancing their careers with the VHA.

Consider the VHA Handbook, which guides hiring practices across VHA facilities throughout America. In this document, only the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Osteopathic Association are mentioned as recognized certifying bodies. This speaks to the hurdles that qualified physicians who have received board certification from the ABPS face when attempting to work for the VHA. In many instances, job postings for physicians specifically require certification from the ABMS or AOA, which limits the pool of candidates – a problem that is further highlighted due to the well-documented shortage of VHA physicians in this country. Plus, on the rare occasion that an ABPS Diplomate secures employment at a VHA hospital, advancement has proven difficult, if not impossible.

These needless discriminatory hiring practices fly in the face of other VHA departmental policies, making them all the more frustrating. For instance, the ABPS is recognized by Medicaid and Medicare as a credible certifying body in the United States and is accepted under the G.I. Bill. Paradoxically, physicians are encouraged to pursue board certification through the ABPS – and reimbursed for their expenses – but then the certification they earn isn’t recognized by the VHA’s own institutions. It is this logic gap that the ABPS seeks to address.

For more information about our ongoing efforts to work with the VHA to improve its hiring practices and address the VHA physician shortage in the United States, contact the American Board of Physician Specialties 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.

I feel truly blessed and grateful to be an internal medicine board-certified diplomate with the American Board of Physician Specialties. Their ongoing, steadfast commitment to physician board(s) enhancement, forward focused vision, and tenacity is second to none. ABPS has become a recognized choice in Physician Board Certification.

Adam Rench, MD
Internal Medicine
To be the best, you must measure yourself against the best. Achieving Board Certification in Emergency Medicine by the ABPS gave me the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of the art of EM in an objective way. The high bar that ABPS sets for candidates to be allowed to take both the written and oral exam is a testament to ABPS's rigorous vetting of one's ability to practice Emergency Medicine at a high level. By maintaining these credentials, I've been able to instill confidence in my abilities at the department/employer level and ultimately with the patients that choose to seek emergency care at the facilities at which I practice.

Royce Mathew Joseph, MD
Emergency Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has supported the entire field of Integrative Medicine in sponsoring our board. It has been so validating of the importance of prevention-oriented and holistic approaches to care while emphasizing the scientific basis of this specialty to have it recognized by ABPS. I am proud to have been one of the first groups to be board certified by ABPS in Integrative Medicine, leading the way for others committed to training in this specialty.

Myles Spar, MD
Integrative Medicine