Posts Tagged AAPS

ACEP Releases Statement on Texas Medical Board Action

ACEP President Angela Gardner, MD, FACEP, released the following statement on December 10, 2009 regarding the ruling by the Texas Medical Board that physicians certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties could advertise themselves as board certified.

ACEP, and the entire emergency medical community, was surprised to learn that on Oct. 20, the Texas Medical Board (TMB) ruled that physicians certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) could advertise themselves to the public as board certified. ABPS certifies physicians in 17 specialties. Its emergency medicine board is the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM).

After learning of the ruling, ACEP contacted the Texas Medical Board and requested under the Texas Open Records Act, copies of all materials pertaining to this ruling. We are expecting the documents in the next several days, and once they have been reviewed we will decide on a course of action. We may ask that the board hold public hearings, or that this action be overturned.

As outlined in ACEP’s policy statement “ACEP Recognized Certifying Bodies in Emergency Medicine,” ACEP recognizes ABEM and AOBEM as the only certifying bodies for emergency medicine. This has been ACEP’s position for many years and it has not changed. In recent years, ACEP and its chapters have actively defended this position in opposing similar ABPS initiatives in other states including Florida, Kentucky, New York and North Carolina.

ACEP’s opposition is based on concerns that BCEM allows and encourages new physicians to enter unsupervised practice without residency training in the specialty. ACEP has maintained a consistent position on the critical importance of residency training for physicians entering emergency medicine. The specialty has grown such that residency training is widely available and should be the pathway for new physicians entering the practice of emergency medicine. In fact, the first sentence in our policy statement, “The Role of the Legacy Emergency Physician in the 21st Century” states, “ACEP believes that physicians who begin the practice of emergency medicine in the 21st century must have completed an accredited emergency medicine residency training program and be eligible for certification by the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) or American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM).” Unfortunately, BCEM does not share this commitment to the importance of residency training for new physicians and as a result, ACEP opposes efforts to allow those physicians to advertise themselves as board certified.

It is important to distinguish our position on board certification from our position on ACEP’s legacy physicians. ACEP was founded more than 40 year ago when residency training in emergency medicine was not available. The physicians who founded the specialty, and many who came after them, did not have the opportunity to attend a residency or become board certified. These “legacy” physicians remain a critical component of the emergency medicine workforce. They are also vital contributors to the success of America’s emergency care system and they will remain so for many more years.

Our position on BCEM pertains to the important role of residency training today. BCEM certification provides equivalent recognition to new physicians who simply choose not to seek residency training in emergency medicine. Allowing new physicians without emergency medicine residency training to advertise themselves as board certified in emergency medicine would dilute and deemphasize the critical importance of residency training. It also misrepresents to the public the level of training these new physicians have received. Therefore, ACEP continues to oppose efforts to allow BCEM-certified physicians to advertise themselves as board certified.

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Texas Recognizes ABPS Certification

The Texas Medical Board ruled on Oct. 20 that physicians certified by the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) could advertise themselves as board certified to the public.

The ABPS is the certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialties (AAPS). The ABPS sponsors 17 boards of certification, including the Board of Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM).

For a number of years, ABPS, in conjunction with AAPS, has been seeking recognition from various state medical boards, requesting that they allow physicians certified through an ABPS board to advertise themselves as board certified. The organizations were successful in Florida in 2002 but were recently rebuffed by the State of New York due to the lack of residency training as a qualification for ABPS board certification.

ACEP does not recognize BCEM as a certifying body in emergency medicine.

The Texas Medical Board ruling came as a surprise to the emergency medicine community, said Dr. Angela Gardner, ACEP president.

“We are very concerned that this ruling was done without the input of any of the organizations representing emergency medicine,” said Dr. Gardner. “Neither ACEP, AAEM, the Texas chapter, nor to our knowledge, any other medical specialty organizations were asked to submit written comments or testify at public hearings.”

After the ruling was announced, ACEP sent a letter to the Texas Medical Board asking for a clarification and requesting through the Texas Open Records Act, all documents, letters and communications relating to the ruling.

Once ACEP hears from the Texas Medical Board, a decision will be made on the next course of action. “We may ask for a public hearing, or the Texas Chapter may ask that this ruling be reconsidered,” said Dr. Gardner. “Important decisions that impact the physicians and patients in a particular state should be made with the input of those physicians and their specialties.”

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