I am no longer board certified with ABFM – American Board of Family Medicine, which is a chapter of ABMS – American Board of Medical Specialties. This isn’t to be taken lightly. The ABMS has a major monopoly on board certification which means that without an ABMS designation there are fewer job opportunities for the average physician.
In this post, I’ll discuss my 2-year experience with an alternative to ABMS, NBPAS – National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, as well as my recent experience renewing NBPAS board certification.
Most employers will require you to be board eligible or board certified before they will hire you for a full-time or part-time patient-facing position. This means you must have completed an eligible residency in a particular specialty or be in the process of completing it. And you have to be eligible to sit for the board certification exam.
But it goes a step further. Many organizations, though this is dwindling quickly, recognize the ABMS as a legitimate certifying body for physicians but on NBPAS. So if you give up your ABMS certification or don’t renew it, you may no longer be eligible with your current employer and would have a hard time finding a full-time job with other employers.
Per Diem Work
Fortunately, you can almost always still find per diem gigs as a board eligible but not board-certified physician. Your income might be a little lower and not every place will hire you but I have colleagues who aren’t board certified either because they didn’t complete a residency or choose not to be board certified.
When it comes to telemedicine work, most seem to require you to be board certified. Even JustAnswer requires you to have board certification. Even though you don’t perform clinical work on JA, they want to be able to advertise to their clients that they have US board-certified physicians.
My NBPAS Experience
I wrote about NBPAS for the first time in this post. Since I had retired in 2016, I didn’t care to maintain my board certification with the ABFM and I definitely didn’t care to sit for my board recertification exam, which would have been my first one.
I wrote an update about NBPAS in this post where I mentioned my experience signing up with them in April of 2017 – 2 years ago. It cost only $200 and it has been money well-spent.
A year ago a local medical group, Providence, interviewed me and offered me a job as a medical director in their urgent care even though I wasn’t board certified with the ABFM as a family medicine physician.
I also have been able to sign up with DialCare Telemed and other telemedicine companies without an ABMS certificate. My NBPAS board certification has been adequate. I’ve even been able to return to Oscar after my whole medical board investigation fiasco.
Not to mention that I have been earning plenty of money doing healthcare consulting work, for which I don’t need any board certification, nor an active medicine license.
Reporting Medical Board Investigation
The ABFM suspended my board certification for 30 days after I had my medical license suspended in Oregon. I am not sure why they did that. They didn’t do any due diligence, nor did they contact me before suspending my license. I was rather irked by this.
I obtained my NBPAS certificate before this investigation was set into motion. I looked through the paperwork I got from NBPAS and didn’t see any wording which required me to report any adverse administrative events to them.
Furthermore, when I went to renew my NBPAS certification I wasn’t asked about any medical board events. Now that the medical board investigation is behind me, I’ll reach out and see what their current policy is on reporting.
Renewing my NBPAS Board Certification
I didn’t even realize my NBPAS board certification was coming up for renewal. I received an email that I needed to go online to renew and pay the 2 -year renewal fee. It took 5 minutes to do it. They asked me to upload my 50 CME’s for the past 2 years to qualify for the recertification.
An admin person emailed me that my documents were complete and emailed me a copy of my new 2-year certificate. It couldn’t be simpler. I didn’t have to take any tests and it was a rather pleasant experience.
It cost $145 to renew my board certification with NBPAS for 2 more years. I paid on their website using my credit card. Super simple. No gimmicks.
The initial application is $169 and the subsequent renewals are cheaper.
It took less than a week for me to get my board certification renewal emailed to me. All I needed was the CME’s which I had to download from UpToDate.
The Mission of NBPAS
Stop reading here if you don’t care for a rather subjective opinion on the topic of board certification. For everyone else, I would strongly encourage you to obtain board certification through NBPAS – it will take you 5 minutes. You don’t have to give up your ABMS board specialty designation, simply pay the $170 fee to support the NBPAS mission and you’ll have an extra layer of protection in case the ABMS tries to fuck you as they did with me.
By doing so you will have a committee of physicians who are 100% dedicated to making the process of remaining a physician easier. Aren’t you tired of all the hands reaching into your pocket?
I worked hard to become a physician and I spend a lot of hours every week reading up on my profession. I take it seriously and don’t recommend just any bullshit to my patients. Whether you believe in the art of medicine or science of medicine or evidence-based medicine, you are capable enough to maintain your own competence.
That’s exactly what NBPAS is about. Let the doctors self-govern. We didn’t become doctors because we won a lottery. We love learning and don’t want to feel like we’re back in high school, nor medical school, and don’t want learning forced down our throat for exorbitant amounts of money.
- What else does a physician need besides CME’s?
- Who says that testing through multiple choice makes you a better doctor?
- Are there amazing doctors who are shitty test takers?
- Are there shitty doctors who are amazing test takers?
Actionable steps: Go to https://nbpas.org/apply-recertify/ right now. It takes a few minutes for you to fill out the application and put in your credit card information to obtain this board certification. Consider it your donation for the year to help improve this career for yourself and doctors after you.
If you sign up, please leave a comment below and let me know. I’ll buy you a cup of coffee or compliment you on your hair or something.