Frank Nocilla, MD, On What It’s Like to Certify in Internal Medicine With the ABPS
I’m a private practitioner in internal medicine in Tupper Lake, New York, as well as a critical care flight physician. I chose to specialize in internal medicine because internists have many options for further specialization in other areas of internal medicine, such as cardiology, pulmonary/critical care, oncology, hematology, and endocrinology— subspecialties that require physicians to have completed an internal medicine residency.
As with choosing their medical fields, it’s important that physicians have choices for specialty board certification. Just think, prior to the availability of internal medicine board certification through the American Board of Physician Specialists® (ABPS), the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) was the only certifying body in the specialty and, as such, had a “free hand” in their ability to limit the number of internists. ABIM exams posed irrelevant questions of minimal real-world clinical significance and lasted two days, testing the stamina and patience of candidates, if nothing else.
On the other hand, internal medicine certification with the ABPS Member Board, the Board of Certification in Internal Medicine (BCIM), tests the candidate’s real-world skills and knowledge. That’s why earning BCIM certification proves—without regard to preserving the economics of already established internists—that a successful candidate is grounded in clinically oriented concepts of internal medicine.
The BCIM is recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor as a leading choice for internal medicine certification, and virtually all of the major third-party insurance carriers, including Medicare and Medicaid, recognize the BCIM. This recognition, besides contradicting the few state boards that do not recognize the BCIM, is important because these third-party payers play a huge role in the economics of hospitals, medical clinics, and medical practices.
Undoubtedly, BCIM certification has helped my career, allowing me to meet the eligibility requirement for several positions that need board certification in internal medicine. It also helped me to advance in subspecialties such as a hospitalist and critical care specialist, providing a rock-solid base for practicing disaster medicine and working as a critical care flight physician.
I strongly encourage any physician seeking board certification in internal medicine to apply with the BCIM. The benefits are wide-ranging. Study clinically relevant material and then take the test. Don’t delay! Career advancement awaits!