American Board of Physician Specialties

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The American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS), the official certifying body for the American Association of Physician Specialists (AAPS) is a non-profit umbrella organization for sixteen medical specialty boards that certifies and re-certifies physicians in fourteen medical specialties in the United States and Canada. The ABPS is one of three organizations overseeing Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) and Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.) certification in the United States. The ABPS assists its Member Boards in developing and implementing educational and professional standards to evaluate and certify physician specialists.

History[edit]

The American Association of Physician Specialists (AAPS) is the smallest of three multi-specialty physician/surgeon certifying entities in the United States, providing board certification to both M.D. and D.O. physicians. The AAPS has grouped its certification activities within a single subdivision called the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS). In August 2005, the ABPS name was registered to AAPS. The ABPS implements certification functions under the direction of AAPS.

AAPS (originally known as the American Association of Osteopathic Physicians was founded in 1952 by Dr. E.O. Martin.[1] Since 1984, AAPS has provided a headquarters for medical specialty boards of certification.

Recognition by State Medical Boards[edit]

Today in the U.S. and its territories, there are seventy (70) state medical boards --- some state medical boards are composed of an M.D. board and a D.O. board while others are combined as one, called a “composite board.” Of the 70 state boards, the vast majority do not differentiate between any of the three nationally recognized multi-specialty boards of certification (ABMS, ABPS, AOABOS). In other words, the majority of the state medical boards are silent (or neutral) as to which board you are certified by.

The remaining boards, approximately twenty (20), have established specific rules for physician advertising by which boards have to petition and receive permission for physicians to be able to advertise themselves as “board certified.”

Those twenty (20) boards are:

• Arizona Medical Board • Arizona Board of Osteopathic Examiners • Medical Board of California Osteopathic • Medical Board of California • Florida Board of Medicine (ABPS is Recognized) • Florida Board of Osteopathic Medicine (ABPS is Recognized) • Louisiana State Board of Medical Examiners • Missouri State Board of Registration for the Healing Arts • New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners • New York State Board for Medicine • North Carolina Medical Board • Oklahoma State Board of Medical Licensure and Supervision (ABPS is Recognized) • Oklahoma State Board of Osteopathic Examiners (ABPS is Recognized) • Oregon Medical Board • Pennsylvania State Board of Medicine • Pennsylvania State Board of Osteopathic Medicine (ABPS is Recognized) • South Carolina Board of Medical Examiners • Texas Medical Board (ABPS is Recognized) • Utah Department of Commerce (Physicians Licensing Board) • Utah Department of Commerce (Board of Osteopathic Medicine) (ABPS is Recognized)

Physicians certified by ABPS and licensed by the Medical Board of California are prohibited from using the term "board certified" unless they are also certified by an American Board of Medical Specialties board.

The relevant sections of California law were enacted in 1990 and are shown below. They can be found at:[2]

"(B) A physician and surgeon licensed under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000) by the Medical Board of California may include a statement that limits their practice to specific fields, but shall not include a statement that they are certified or eligible for certification by a private or public board or parent association, including, but not limited to, a multidisciplinary board or association, unless that board or association is (i) an American Board of Medical Specialties member board, (ii) a board or association with equivalent requirements approved by that physician and surgeon's licensing board, or (iii) a board or association with an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approved postgraduate training program that provides complete training in that specialty or subspecialty.

"A physician and surgeon licensed under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000) by the Medical Board of California who is certified by an organization other than a board or association referred to in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) shall not use the term "board certified" in reference to that certification, unless the physician and surgeon is also licensed under Chapter 4 (commencing with Section 1600) and the use of the term "board certified" in reference to that certification is in accordance with subparagraph (A).

"A physician and surgeon licensed under Chapter 5 (commencing with Section 2000) by the Medical Board of California who is certified by a board or association referred to in clause (i), (ii), or (iii) shall not use the term "board certified" unless the full name of the certifying board is also used and given comparable prominence with the term "board certified" in the statement. For purposes of this subparagraph, a "multidisciplinary board or association" means an educational certifying body that has a psychometrically valid testing process, as determined by the Medical Board of California, for certifying medical doctors and other health care professionals that is based on the applicant's education, training, and experience.

"For purposes of the term "board certified," as used in this subparagraph, the terms "board" and "association" mean an organization that is an American Board of Medical Specialties member board, an organization with equivalent requirements approved by a physician and surgeon's licensing board, or an organization with an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approved postgraduate training program that provides complete training in a specialty or subspecialty.

"The Medical Board of California shall adopt regulations to establish and collect a reasonable fee from each board or association applying for recognition pursuant to this subparagraph. The fee shall not exceed the cost of administering this subparagraph. Notwithstanding Section 2 of Chapter 1660 of the Statutes of 1990, this subparagraph shall become operative July 1, 1993. However, an administrative agency or accrediting organization may take any action contemplated by this subparagraph relating to the establishment or approval of specialist requirements on and after January 1, 1991."

It also appears that certification by an ABPS member board is not sufficient to allow use of the term "board certified" by physicians licensed in the State of New York. However, interpreting the law in New York is more complex.

The definitions below are from the introductory material at the NY State Doctor Profile:[3]

"American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) - An organization of 24 medical specialty boards. Medical specialty boards can approve (certify) doctors who have had special training and taken an examination (see Board certification below). For more information, go to the ABMS Web site."

"American Osteopathic Association (AOA) - The American Osteopathic Association represents more than 47,000 osteopathic physicians (D.O.), promotes public health, encourages scientific research, serves as the primary certifying body for D.O.s and is the accrediting agency for all osteopathic medical schools and health care facilities."

"Board Certification - If a doctor is Board Certified, this means they have graduated from medical school, completed residency (training in a hospital), trained under supervision in a specialty, and passed an exam given by a medical specialty board."

"Certify - To certify means to say something is true and correct. When a doctor is Board certified, it means he has met certain standards."

Bill S3964[4] introduced by Senator Suzi Oppenheimer [5] into the New York State Assembly in April 2009 appears to be an attempt at clarification.

"Title of Bill: An act to amend the education law, in relation to statements of specialist by a physician.

Text of Bill S3964:

State of New York In Senate April 7, 2009 Introduced by Sen. Oppenheimer– read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Higher education An ACT to amend the education law, in relation to statements of specialty by a physician The People of the State of New York, represented in Senate and Assembly, do enact as follows:

Section 1. Section 6527 of the education law is amended by adding a new subdivision 8 to read as follows: 8. A licensed physician may include a statement that limits their practice to specific fields, but may only include a statement that they are certified or eligible for certification by a private or public board or parent association if that board or association is an American Board of Medical Specialties member board or a member board the American Osteopathic Association, a board or association with equivalent requirements approved by that physician and surgeon’s licensing board, or a board or association with an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education approved postgraduate training program that provides complete training in that specialty or subspecialty.

S 2. this act shall take effect on the sixtieth day after it shall have become a law. Justification: This bill is aimed at those physicians who have claimed to be “Board Certified” by so-called “boards” that require a large payment and send a diploma by return mail. It would help to eliminate bogus boards and provide truth in advertising protection for patients. California has enacted similar legislation."

Member Boards[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2012 Awards and Recognition". American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc. Retrieved 18 November 2012. 
  2. ^ "CA Codes (bpc:650-657)". Leginfo.ca.gov. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  3. ^ "New York State". Nydoctorprofile.com. Retrieved 2012-09-16. 
  4. ^ [1][dead link]
  5. ^ http://suzi2008.com/bio.html

External links[edit]