New standards for physicians’ ‘certified’ status | October 29 – Doctors working in Texas emergency rooms and their allies lined up once again to tell the Texas Medical Board on Friday that a year-in-the-making rule restricting the claims that doctors can make about their credentials was a “food fight” that would also seriously hurt them and patients across the state.

The board disagreed and approved the rule, which says doctors credentialed after Sept. 1 cannot advertise that they are “board certified” in their field — an indication of a highlevel of expertise — unless they have successfully completed requirements that include several years of supervised training or a residency, in their specialty area.

A three-year residency has been the common standard in emergency medicine since 1988, when the nation’s largest board that credentials specialty doctors made the change.

Emergency room doctors who testified before the board said the new rule would make them less attractive to hospitals and ultimately reduce the supply of ER doctors, especially in rural areas.

But supporters said the rule elevates emergency medicine certification to the gold standard of other specialties. And most board members who spoke in favor of it agreed as they tried to assure skeptical opponents that the rule only affects how doctors advertise themselves — and won’t affect their jobs.

As a marketing tool, many hospitals tout that all of their ER doctors are board-certified, but that might not mean what some people think. Some doctors might have had a residency in family practice, not emergency medicine, but can still claim to be board-certified in Texas.


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