Pediatricians Not Board-Certified To Treat Young Patients
Many hospitals and health plans do not require physicians to be board-certified in pediatrics before beginning to practice on young patients, according to two studies published on Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Scripps Howard/Detroit News reports (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 2/22). The American Board of Pediatrics since 1987 has required pediatricians to be certified every seven years.
For the studies, University of Michigan researchers polled 200 hospitals and 193 health plans across the U.S. about their policies on pediatric certification. They found that 78% of hospitals do not require pediatricians to be board-certified and that only 41% of health plans do so, according to the Detroit Free Press (Anstett, Detroit Free Press, 2/22).
In addition, 70% of hospitals surveyed said they ultimately require their physicians to become board-certified, but 42% specified no time frame in which doctors must do so (Scripps Howard/ Detroit News, 2/22).
Gary Freed, chief of pediatrics at the University of Michigan and principal author of the study, said, "Medicine changes; this is one way of making sure that pediatricians are practicing up-to-date medicine," (Anstett, Detroit Free Press, 2/22). He added that he was "surprised ... that more hospitals and health plans were not requiring current board certification of their physicians," according to the Scripps Howard/News (Scripps Howard/Detroit News, 2/22).
Don Nielson, senior vice president for medical affairs at the American Hospital Association, said board certification is only one measure of a physician's abilities. According to the Free Press, many hospitals monitor performance through peer-review committees and monthly meetings (Detroit Free Press, 2/22).
An abstract of the first study is available online.
An abstract of the second study also is available online.