Monday, May 25, 2009

Is your orthopedic surgeon board certified?

My dad's impending orthopedic surgery gets me in advocate mode again.

I have been injured, damaged, abandoned by orthopedic surgeons Carle Clinic Association's Chris Dangles, M.D. and Duke Sports Medicine's Alison Toth, M.D.)

I have also had incredibly terrific orthopedic surgeons. And, right now, the most important fact is that my dad has the best orthopedic surgeon - Mark Easley, M.D. at Duke Medical in Durham).

Board certification is important. What I find curious is that the American Board of Orthopedic Surgery (ABOS) does not require re-certification for orthopedic surgeons certified on or before 1987. What? What on Earth is the logic there?
What Does it Mean to be Board Certified by the ABOS?

Certification by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery means that the orthopaedic surgeon has met the specified educational, evaluation, and examination requirements of the Board.

Maintenance of Certification

Since 1986 the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery has issued time limited certificates. Those orthopaedic surgeons who were certified in 1986 and thereafter must maintain their certification by completing 120 hours of pertinent continuing medical education, undergoing a stringent peer review process to make certain they are respected by their peers and practicing ethical orthopaedic surgery, and taking and passing a written or oral examination. This maintenance of certification process must be performed every seven to ten years.
Subspecialty Certification

The ABOS also awards Certificates of Added Qualifications in Surgery of the Hand. Subspecialization in hand surgery requires at least one year of education, endorsement by the program director, peer review, documented experience in a minimum number of hand surgery cases of specified types of problems and a written examination on hand surgery. These Certificates of Added Qualifications are also valid for ten years and also require a recertification process at the end of the ten years.
American Board of Medical Specialties

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) assists the member Boards in promoting quality and efficiency in the process of evaluating and certifying physician specialists. The ABMS provides information to the public, government and the profession. The ABMS is dedicated to assisting in promoting the health of the public through activities relating to the education of the physician and the evaluation and recognition of physician qualifications for practice.

Kevin B. Weiss, M.D., MPH,
President and CEO
1007 Church Street,
Suite 404 Evanston, Illinois 60201-5913
Telephone: (847) 491-9091
Fax: (847) 328-3596
Many physicians and surgeons are political animals (read: Chris J. Dangles, M.D.). IMHO, these orthopedic surgeons spend more time figuring out ways to avoid continuing medical education, maintenance of credentialing and law suits.

An orthopedic surgeon who was board certified in 1986 could be in his 50s. What's up with wanting to avoid MOC? Lazy, a "bad doctor" or maybe just plain so arrogant that he or she thinks they know everything just fine.

Ask you orthopedic surgeon (especially if he or she was initially accredited by 1986) whether they voluntarily maintain credentials. If they don't, find another orthopedic surgeon.

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