Why Hospitals Should Encourage Board Certification in Emergency Medicine

Why Hospitals Should Encourage Board Certification in Emergency MedicineFinding qualified physicians who are board certified in emergency medicine has long been a challenge for hospital recruiters. The fact that emergency room visits have increased in the last several years only makes the problem more urgent. To keep their emergency departments staffed to adequately meet patient volume, hospitals have traditionally relied on physicians certified in other medical fields, like primary care. In fact, according to current estimates, almost half of the emergency department physicians in the United States are neither trained nor board certified in EM. While this arguably represents an appropriate and necessary response to the shortage of EM-certified doctors, it makes for a less than ideal situation, particularly where a hospital’s reputation is concerned.

Board Certification Can Bolster the Reputation of Emergency Departments

In today’s competitive medical environment, hospital emergency departments staffed with EM-certified physicians stand out from the pack. That’s because the strict eligibility requirements and rigorous examination process of board certification enables qualified physicians to demonstrate that they are among the most skilled professionals in their specialty. So, by hiring an EM-certified physician a hospital announces to its patients and the general public that it is expressly committed to offering the best medical care available.

Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM)

As more hospitals prioritize hiring EM-certified physicians, experienced EM practitioners who have proven themselves fully capable of delivering critical care in stressful emergency room environments, but who are certified in a primary care specialty, are placed at a career disadvantage. Compounding this state of affairs is that in order for them to earn EM certification, they must complete a residency in EM, a specialty in which they have already demonstrated expertise day in, day out.

Thankfully, there is a solution. The American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) offers board certification in emergency medicine to career EM physicians who have completed a primary care residency. For over a quarter of a century, practicing physicians have benefited from the rigorous certification exams provided by a widely respected ABPS Member Board, the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM). The ABPS urges hospitals to encourage its EM physicians to seek certification through the BCEM and wants recruiters to know that there can be generous insurance incentives for hiring EM-certified physicians. It’s also noteworthy that hiring EM-certified physicians has been linked to decreased litigation risks for medical institutions.

What Physicians Need to Know About Applying for BCEM Certification

To become BCEM-certified, candidates must meet the ABPS general requirements. This entails graduating from a recognized U.S. or Canadian allopathic or osteopathic medical college and possessing a valid, unrestricted medical license in the United States, its territories, or Canada. The BCEM has specific eligibility criteria for certification, which include three pathways:

  • Completion of an accredited residency in emergency medicine, recognized by ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC.
  • Completion of a residency in primary care specialties such as family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery, recognized by ACGME, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC, along with at least 5 years and 7,000 hours of full-time emergency medicine experience.
  • Completion of an accredited residency in family practice, internal medicine, pediatric medicine, or general surgery, followed by a 12- or 24-month emergency medicine fellowship approved by the AAEP.

All three pathways require candidates to pass both a written and oral examination for BCEM certification.

Get More Information About the Benefits of BCEM Certification

To learn more about certification in emergency medicine through the BCEM, and why hiring doctors certified by the BCEM inspires the trust and confidence of fellow staffers as well as patients, contact the ABPS today.

Save the Date
House of Delegates & Annual Scientific Meeting
Innovation & Overcoming Challenges
June 10-15, 2022
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