While board certification is not required to practice medicine, it is a valuable tool for patients to determine the expertise and experience of a physician in a particular field of medicine.
Physicians can practice medicine without being board certified and there is a difference between having a medical license and Board Certification.
Medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to treat patients and is not specialty specific. All physicians and medical specialists in the United States must be licensed to practice medicine by licensing boards in each state. Each state sets its own rules and regulations to qualify for a medical license.
Board certification is specific to a specialty and subspecialty. While a license is required to practice medicine, board certification is a voluntary process and requires the physician to demonstrate that they have a level of experience and expertise in a particular area of medicine. Board certification requires a physician to demonstrate advanced knowledge, training, and skills in a specific field. This process is rigorous and physicians have to demonstrate specific requirements, including medical licensure, residency/fellowship training, program director attestation, and passing a rigorous exam. In some cases (such as with regenerative medicine) a case log has to be submitted indicated that the provider has been safely practicing in this fields.
Board certification involves a continuing process of professional assessment and learning to support improvements in patient care quality, safety, outcomes, and experiences.
Furthermore, the learning doesn’t stop when a physician becomes board certified no matter their qualifications. Board certification involves a continuing process of professional assessment and learning to support improvements in patient care quality, safety, outcomes, and experiences. To maintain board certification indicates that the physician is up-to-date in that specialty.
Not all physicians are board certified in the specialties they practice.
If you require the services of a specialist, you deserve to know that the physician is a leader in that specialty. This is why it is always important for patients to research the credentials of a physician.
Patients can know that board-certified physicians have had to prove their knowledge and training. This can be a rigorous process and is designed to make sure that the physician has exemplary knowledge and mastery in that field.
Board certification indicates that the physicians and medical specialists demonstrates a baseline standards of specialty care. Board certification also assures patients and health care organizations that the specialists they are seeing is skilled and knowledgeable in that field, maintain their specialty expertise, and meet the standards established by their peers.
In fact, research on initial certification has consistently shown a reduced likelihood of disciplinary actions (Kocher et al, 2008; Khaliq et al, 2005; Kopp et al, 2020; Kinney et al, 2019) and a higher quality of care (Brennan et al, 2004; Holmboe et al, 2008; Pearce et al, 1999; Xu et al, 2019)
by board certified specialists.
The field of regenerative medicine is new, and there is no specific residency program that trains doctors to be a regenerative medicine specialist. While there is no special program there is a Board Certification for Regenerative medicine. The American Board of Regenerative Medicine (ABRM) is the leader in setting standards and promoting excellence in the field of Regenerative Medicine, related education, research, publication and certification.
Many physicians from different backgrounds will claim to be specialists in this field, but it can be hard as a patient to assess if the physician has a baseline knowledge in regenerative medicine to provide the care needed. In addition, many of the regenerative medicine procedures require ultrasound or x-ray (fluoroscopy guidance). There are also certifications to indicate if competency in ultrasound (RMSK certification) and ultrasound guided procedures (AIUM).
The above links are to the ABRM, RMSK and AIUM directories that list physicians and organizations that have met the strict requirements they set for excellence. Dr. Sussman is also board certified in physiatry and sports medicine by the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR).
Is your physician board certified in regenerative medicine? Check here
Any physicians can claim to be a specialist in regenerative medicine, but if you are interested in determining if a physician is board certified visit the American Board of Regenerative Medicine (ABRM) online physician verification database here.
As I’ve written before, understanding who is a qualified to perform these procedures can be a big challenge for patients.
Recently I was asked to review an invoice from a physician who
visited a QC Kinetix clinic. QC Kinetix sells regenerative medicine
franchises. As they note on their website, QC Kinetix sells franchises
to physicians and they do not require that their physicians have any
advanced training in regenerative medicine. This physician was seen by a
mid-level (NOT a doctor), and provided with a basic form. This form is
fixed and other serious regenerative medicine practices have published similar fixed forms from QC Kinetix on their website.
A fixed medical treatment plan is a serious problem. In my
opinion, serial procedures as described on this invoice are usually not
medically necessary. Treatment plan should be specific to the individual
patient and their condition. However, when physicians are not well trained or decisions are made by mid-levels without adequate training then fixed treatment plans make sense. In my opinion,
regenerative medicine conversations are complex and plans have to be balanced against other conservative treatments (many of which are covered by insurance) and surgical decisions. These risk and benefits should be made in my opinion with a physician trained in regenerative medicine.
You would never have a rotator cuff tear fixed by anyone other than a board certified orthopedic surgeon or a cardiac stent placed by anyone other than a board certified interventional cardiologist. Why would you let a mid-level or physician without board certification in regenerative medicine perform a platelet rich plasma (PRP) or autologous stem cell (i.e. bone marrow concentrate or Lipogems) procedure?
Dr. Sussman is board certified in physiatry (physical medicine & rehabilitation) and subspecialty training in sports medicine. In addition, Dr. Sussman is board certified in regenerative medicine and has published articles and text book chapters on platelet rich plasma (PRP), as well as autologous stem cell and allogenic amniotic growth factor procedures.
In addition, Dr. Sussman is certified in diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound (RMSK) and the American Institute of Ultrasound Medicine (AIUM) has certified Boston Sports & Biologics in both diagnostic musculoskeletal ultrasound and ultrasound guided injections.
Brennan TA, Horwitz RI, Duffy FD, Cassel CK, Goode LD, Lipner RS. The role of physician specialty board certification status in the quality movement. JAMA. 2004;292(9):1038–1043.
"franchise". Regenexx v QC Kinetix Franchise: Which is Best? December 30, 2021. Accessed July 30, 2022. https://qckinetix.com/franchis...
Holmboe ES, Lipner R, Greiner A. Assessing quality of care: knowledge matters. JAMA. 2008;299(3):338-340.
Kocher MS, Dichtel L, Kasser JR, Gebhardt MC, Katz JN. Orthopedic board certification and physician performance: an analysis of medical malpractice, hospital disciplinary action, and state medical board disciplinary action rates. Am J Orthop (Belle Mead NJ). 2008 Feb;37(2):73-5.
Khaliq AA, Dimassi H, Huang CY, Narine L, Smego RA Jr. Disciplinary action against physicians: who is likely to get disciplined? Am J Med. 2005 Jul;118(7):773-7.
Kopp JP, Ibáñez B, Jones AT, Pei X, Young A, Arnhart K, Rizzo AG, Buyske J. Association Between American Board of Surgery Initial Certification and Risk of Receiving Severe Disciplinary Actions Against Medical Licenses. JAMA Surg. 2020 May 1;155(5):e200093.
Kinney CL, Raddatz MM, Sliwa JA, Clark GS, Robinson LR. Does Performance on the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Initial Certification Examinations Predict Future Physician Disciplinary Actions? Am J Phys Med Rehabil. 2019 Dec;98(12):1079-1083.
Pearce WH, Parker MA, Feinglass J, Ujiki M, Manheim LM. The importance of surgeon volume and training in outcomes for vascular surgical procedures. J Vasc Surg. 1999;29(5):768-776.
Xu T, Mehta A, Park A, Makary MA, Price DW. Association Between Board Certification, Maintenance of Certification, and Surgical Complications in the United States. Am J Med Qual. 2019 Nov/Dec;34(6):545-552.
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