EM news recently ran an article on their front page on the AAPS (American Association of Physician Specialties). The organization is suing the NY Dept. of Health because they are not listing physicians boarded by their organization on the NYDOH website.
The AAPS is an organization that will grant board certification to a specialty including Emergency Medicine. Obviously, board certification status is important since if affects the physicians ability to obtain hospital privileges, be eligible of certain types of malpractice insurance and compensation. Interestingly, the individual can become boarded without having completed a residency in EM.
The requirements according to the AAPS website and their boarding arm the ABPS (American Board of Physician Specialists) in short are as follows:
- complete a residency in anesthesiology or a primary care specialty, or
- be certified in a primary care specialty or anesthesiology by the ABPS
- complete a 12 or 24 month emergency medicine graduate training program approved by BCM and have practiced emergency medicine full-time or five years, accumulating at least 7,000 hours of practice. The graduate course cannot be substituted for a primary care or anesthesiology residency.
The full page of requirements can be found here.
The AAPS even recognizes three different fellowship programs. In
Are alarm bells going off? This alternate boarding organization could jeopardize EM-trained physicians in a number of ways. First, patient safety. Patients are best treated in the emergency department by EM-trained physicians. Tom Scaletta, president of AAEM (American Association of Emergency Medicine) summed up this point by stating, “The AAPS does not understand that the public want board certified specialists staffing their emergency departments.” Secondly, malpractice rates may increase. Allowing AAPS board certified physicians to be credentialed could potentially increase rates, as the insurance companies can easily look at a non EM-trained physician practicing in the ED as an increased risk. Finally, compensation. Physicians staffing an ED that are not boarded in EM usually bill at a lesser rate.
Fortunately, the AAEM and ACEP (
If this makes sense to you, I would encourage you to contact your state legislator and express your opinion. If it does not, I would welcome your response.Post submitted by Mike Grinney, Resident in Emergency Medicine at Lincoln Hospital, New York City.
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