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.

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