Who Claims to Be a Pediatrician?

  • Gary L. Freed
    Correspondence
    Reprint requests: Gary L. Freed, MD, MPH, University of Michigan, 300 North Ingalls Building 6E08, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0456.
    Affiliations
    From the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Rebecca L. Uren
    Affiliations
    From the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Ericka J. Hudson
    Affiliations
    From the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

    Division of General Pediatrics, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • Indu Lakhani
    Affiliations
    From the Child Health Evaluation and Research (CHEAR) Unit, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and The American Board of Pediatrics, Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
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  • The Research Advisory Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics
    Author Footnotes
    ⁎ List of members of the Research Advisory Committee is available in the Appendix.
  • Author Footnotes
    ⁎ List of members of the Research Advisory Committee is available in the Appendix.

      Objective

      The purpose of this study was to determine the proportion of physicians who self or otherwise declare themselves to be pediatricians but who have never achieved board certification.

      Study design

      We compared a roster from the state licensure file of eight geographically diverse states containing those designated as pediatricians with a listing from the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) of those who had ever achieved board certification. We then sent a mail survey to a sample of 500 physicians who appeared as pediatricians on the state licensure files but for whom there was no record of certification with the ABP.

      Results

      The proportion of unmatched pediatricians ranges from 6.9% in Massachusetts to 16.8% in Maryland, and averages 11% across all of the states in our study. The survey response rate was 64%. The majority (61%) of respondents described having undertaken residency training in categorical pediatrics or medicine-pediatrics. The remainder reported surgical residencies (31%) or were combined into an “other” category (8%). Eighty-five percent reported having completed 3 or more years of postgraduate training. Almost all (94%) completed training in the United States or Canada.

      Conclusions

      There is increasing attention to board certification and patient safety among the media and public.

      United Press International. Feb 21, 2006. Pediatric credentialing lax at hospitals. Available at: http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060221-023607-5300r. Accessed March 28, 2006.

      Forbes.com. February 21, 2006. Many hospitals don’t require board certification for pediatricians. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2006/02/21/hscout531130.html. Accessed March 28, 2006.

      Freudenheim M. Market place; WebMD wants to go beyond information. New York Times. February 23, 2006. Available online at: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50F1EFB355A0C708EDDAB0894DE404482. Accessed March 28, 2006..

      A clearer delineation of the proportion of physicians in a given state reporting to be pediatricians who have not completed board certification can help inform parents of the odds they will encounter noncertified physicians in the hospitals and among the health plans in which they seek care for their children.

      Abbreviations:

      ABP ( American Board of Pediatrics), ABMS ( American Boards of Medical Specialties)
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      References

      1. United Press International. Feb 21, 2006. Pediatric credentialing lax at hospitals. Available at: http://www.upi.com/HealthBusiness/view.php?StoryID=20060221-023607-5300r. Accessed March 28, 2006.

      2. Forbes.com. February 21, 2006. Many hospitals don’t require board certification for pediatricians. Available at: http://www.forbes.com/lifestyle/health/feeds/hscout/2006/02/21/hscout531130.html. Accessed March 28, 2006.

      3. Freudenheim M. Market place; WebMD wants to go beyond information. New York Times. February 23, 2006. Available online at: http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F50F1EFB355A0C708EDDAB0894DE404482. Accessed March 28, 2006..

      4. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/medicalnews.php?newsid=38856. Accessed March 28, 2006.

        • Brennan T.A.
        • Horwitz R.I.
        • Duffy F.D.
        • Cassel C.K.
        • Goode L.D.
        • Lipner R.S.
        The role of physician specialty board certification status in the quality movement.
        JAMA. 2004; 292: 1038-1043
        • Freed G.L.
        • Uren R.L.
        • Hudson E.J.
        • Lakhani I.
        • Wheeler J.R.C.
        • Stockman J.
        • The Research Advisory Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics
        Policies and practices related to the role of board certification/recertification of pediatricians in hospital privileging.
        JAMA. 2006; 295: 905-912
        • Freed G.L.
        • Singer D.
        • Lakhani I.
        • Wheeler J.R.C.
        • Stockman J.
        • The Research Advisory Committee of the American Board of Pediatrics
        Use of board certification and recertification in health plan credentialing policies.
        JAMA. 2006; 295: 913-918

      Linked Article

      • What Is a Pediatrician and Who Is Asking?
        The Journal of PediatricsVol. 150Issue 6
        • In Brief
          The question “What is a pediatrician?” seems rather straightforward. A medical dictionary defines a pediatrician as “an expert in the field of pediatrics”.1 Pediatrics is defined as the “branch of medicine which treats of the child, its development and care, and of the diseases and their treatment”.1 For whom is this question important? Parents, patients, insurers, corporate self-insurers, state licensing boards, hospitals, professional societies, and accreditation boards all have an interest in the answer to this question.
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