BCEM Offensive Aimed at State Medical Boards / AAEM ELECTION PERIOD OPENS

CAL/AAEM News Service somcaaem at hs.uci.edu
Thu Dec 10 17:45:59 PST 2009

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December 4, 2009
A Call to Action:  BCEM Offensive Aimed at State Medical Boards
The American Academy of Emergency Medicine<http://www.aaem.org/>

Dear AAEM member,
In the past several weeks, advocates for BCEM diplomates approached a number of state medical boards arguing for the right to advertise themselves as "board certified."  As most of you know, an organization called the American Association of Physician Specialists (AAPS) offers an examination called Board Certification in Emergency Medicine (BCEM).  Eligibility for this examination requires no formal training in emergency medicine.  I send you this letter in the hope that you will become familiar with the AAEM policy on this vitally important issue.
We have a mechanism in place to try to monitor the activities of AAPS in all 50 states.  However, this does not assure that we will receive notice in time to send representatives to hearings in all states, especially when state boards do not adequately publicize their hearings.  We hope you will notify our home office if you receive notice of a hearing, and we encourage you to attend the hearing, in your own capacity, whenever possible.  This detailed letter will provide you with a factual background and a description of our position on this issue.
About seven years ago, AAPS successfully lobbied the Florida Board of Medicine, and to this day, BCEM diplomates in Florida may use the title "board certified," and may advertise themselves as board certified emergency physicians.  This happened quietly, before AAPS got on our "radar."  Since that time, we appeared at a similar hearing in North Carolina and helped convince the board of medicine not to recognize BCEM.  Then, AAPS filed suit against the New York Department of Health and a number of New York officials arguing that New York should recognize BCEM diplomates as board certified emergency physicians.  AAEM's Immediate Past-President, Tom Scaletta, offered testimony, and we provided documentation to assist the New York defendants in this case.  AAPS recently lost in the trial court and promptly appealed.
We do not object to BCEM physicians working in any hospital that will grant them credentials to practice emergency medicine.  AAEM never tried to tell organized medical staffs who to credential in their emergency departments.  Even in the next 50 years, I do not expect every hospital to fill every slot in their emergency department with an ABEM or AOBEM certified physician.  A large majority of hospitals in the U.S. do not require board certification for physicians applying for hospital privileges.  Likewise, The Joint Commission does not require board certification to obtain hospital privileges.  Therefore, BCEM physicians should be satisfied with the fact that they can practice in almost any hospital in the U.S.
On the other hand, we do object to attempts by BCEM physicians to call themselves "board certified" emergency physicians.  Most of the public equates the term "board certified" with advanced training in a specific specialty.  Also, by insisting on calling themselves "board certified," the BCEM physicians attack the very legitimacy of emergency medicine as a specialty.  If training in emergency medicine is unnecessary, then emergency medicine is not a legitimate specialty.
If training in surgery or internal medicine was unnecessary, then surgery and medicine would not be legitimate specialties.
The AAPS people also try to claim this is a physician shortage issue, and if they can't call themselves "board certified," then this will aggravate a physician shortage problem.  This argument is nonsense for the reasons described above.  We don't object to them working anywhere they can get hospital credentials.
Finally, they often distort the significance of the "grandfather clause" in emergency medicine, stating that it existed only because there were not enough EM residencies before 1988.  The truth is that EM had a grandfather clause only to honor the founders of our specialty, people who did not have an opportunity to train in an EM residency.  Most other specialties also had a similar grandfather clause for similar reasons.  The current BCEM candidates and diplomates did have EM residencies available to them, but for whatever reason either elected not to train in EM or did not have the credentials to get accepted for training in EM.
In the past month, AAPS received provisional approval from the Texas and Oklahoma medical boards for their diplomates to advertise themselves as "board certified."  AAEM did not have adequate notice to attend these hearings, but AAEM members in these states already requested re-hearings.  Just four days ago, AAPS again repeated their arguments before the North Carolina Medical Board.  AAEM Vice President Howard Blumstein attended that hearing and presented AAEM's position.  The North Carolina board did not yet issue a decision.
Instead of focusing on emergency medicine, AAPS now presents an argument on behalf of every specialty in which it offers an examination, deflecting attention away from the fact that it requires no emergency medicine training for its BCEM examination.
AAPS largely exists in order to offer a "board certification" to untrained physicians who work in emergency departments.  Their current lobbying efforts undermine the entire board certification process, delegitimize the specialty of emergency medicine, and potentially harm the public by misrepresenting their diplomates as "board certified"specialists.  AAPS is in the midst of a major assault on the legitimacy of emergency medicine.  We will continue to oppose this assault on our profession, and I invite each of our members to join our effort.


Larry D. Weiss, MD JD FAAEM
AAEM President

American Academy of Emergency Medicine
555 E. Wells Street
Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
Fax: 414-276-3349
Website: www.aaem.org

December  5, 2009
AAEM Election Period Opens and Other Updates

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine<http://www.aaem.org/>

As you are aware, all AAEM full voting and YPS members were invited to run for a position on the AAEM board of directors.  Please watch your mailbox for the "Common Sense" election issue, which includes your ballot and the candidate statements.  You may also view the candidate statements online at http://www.aaem.org/elections/.

Please review the information provided in "Common Sense," and then exercise your democratic right to vote for the representatives you would like to see serve as AAEM's leaders.  Remember, we have a one-member, one-vote system, so your voice counts.  Please follow these instructions below in casting your ballot for the 2010 election.
Mail in ballots will be accepted until February 12, 2010.
If You Will Attend the Scientific Assembly February 15-17, 2010, in Las Vegas:
We recommend that you do not complete or return your official ballot at this time.  There will be a Candidates Forum held during the Scientific Assembly where you can hear the candidates respond to direct questions from the voting membership.  You will be asked to submit your ballot at the conclusion of that Forum.  Please bring your ballot with you to the Scientific Assembly.  If certain of your choices or unsure if you will attend the Forum, you may vote now and return your ballot in the business reply envelope.
If You Are Unable to Attend the Scientific Assembly February 15-17, 2010, in Las Vegas:
Complete your official ballot as instructed, seal it inside the business reply envelope provided in "Common Sense" and mail your ballot.  Mail in ballots will be accepted until February 12, 2010.
If you haven't already renewed your membership for the 2010 year, please go to www.aaem.org.  From each member's unique login, you will be able to check your membership status or payment history, review and update your contact information and pay your 2010 membership dues online in real time.
To set up your initial login account, please visit http://aaem.execinc.com/edibo/LoginHelp.  In order to authenticate your identity, you will be required to enter in your current email address on file with AAEM.  We encourage you to check your member's only page frequently, as more features will be coming soon.
Please contact us at info at aaem.org or 800-884-2236 if you have any questions or to provide us with your preferred email address.
AAEM FOUNDATION EVENT AT THE 16th ANNUAL SCIENTIFIC ASSEMBLY Join us Monday, February 15, 2010 at 9:30pm for a unique Foundation event. AAEM will be attending The BeatlesT LOVET by Cirque du SoleilR at The Mirage. With LOVE, Cirque du Soleil celebrates the musical legacy of The Beatles through enhanced versions of their timeless, original recordings. The exuberance of The Beatles is channeled through the youthful, urban energy of a cast of 60 international artists. With panoramic sound and visuals, audiences experience The BeatlesT as never before.
Please note:
~ Guests must be over the age of 5 to attend the performance. No one under the age of 5 will be permitted in to the theatre.
~ Seating begins 45 minutes before the performance; all guests must be in their seats at least 15 minutes prior or the seat location will not be guaranteed.
~The use of recording devices and cameras is strictly prohibited.
February 15-17, 2010
Las Vegas, NV

To view the preliminary program, please click here- http://www.aaem.org/UserFiles/preliminary_program_hr%282%29.pdf

Register for Scientific Assembly and the Pre-Conference Courses now at https://ssl18.pair.com/aaemorg/education/scientificassembly/sa10/registrationform.php
AAEM Quick Links:
http://www.aaem.org/index.php - Check out the new member's only area of the AAEM website!
http://www.aaem.org/education/scientificassembly/ - Remember, in today's economy, every dollar counts.  Scientific Assembly is always FREE for AAEM members (registration fee is refundable).  Register today!

American Academy of Emergency Medicine
555 E. Wells Street
Suite 1100
Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
Fax: 414-276-3349

Abid Mogannam &
Brian Potts MD, MBA
Managing Editors, CAL/AAEM News Service
University of California, Irvine
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