Response of the American Board of Medical Specialties to the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons’ claim to affirm the certifying body’s equivalence

CHICAGO, July 29, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) strongly disagrees with persistent and misleading claims that the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) recertification process is a means of continuing ABMS board certification, or the ABMS -Board certification is equivalent. Claims of equivalence to ABMS certification, or that NBPAS is a means to maintain ABMS Member Board certification, are misleading to the profession and especially to the public who rely on the strength of ABMS Board certification.

Unlike the ABMS Member Boards, NBPAS does not have a process for defining subject-specific knowledge standards. It does not provide an external assessment of knowledge and skills that the Institute for Credentialing Excellence defines, in essence, the ability of a certification program to validate competency, nor is the NBPAS certificate consistent with Established American Medical Association Certification Policy.

NBPAS has no obligation to improve medical practice, nor does it appear to have any means of addressing unprofessional behavior by its members. Finally, it does not conduct research to provide the evidence base for the value of its program and to inform its continuous quality improvement.

ABMS and its member bodies recently completed a comprehensive, transparent and collaborative process to review and improve member bodies’ ongoing certification programs to ensure they are both relevant and support the learning and improvement needs of diplomats, while providing the public with a provide reliable and dependable qualification . These program revisions address concerns expressed by diplomats about continuing certification: they provide an alternative to the high-stakes exams, provide feedback to support learning, and include processes that allow diplomats to meet requirements before losing of the certificate to be fulfilled.

All of these changes are designed to reduce diplomatic costs, and diplomats like them: 98 percent of diplomats surveyed prefer longitudinal assessment models over the previous high-stakes exam. At the same time, the ongoing ABMS certification continues to fulfill its commitment to the public to validate that ABMS certified physicians have the knowledge, skills and professionalism to provide quality specialty care.

The value of board certification should not be underestimated. Patients deserve access to high-quality specialist care. They expect their physicians to be up to date with the latest medical advances in their specialties and to demonstrate their competence through a rigorous board certification process. Recognition of NBPAS as a certification body equivalent to ABMS member bodies will confuse the public and the profession as to the meaning and purpose of body certification and may undermine public confidence in body certification and professional self-regulation.

SOURCE American Board of Medical Specialties

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