Credentials and Board Certification
A simple way to determine appropriate training is to check for board certification. “The intent of the certification of physicians is to provide assurance to the public that a physician specialist certified by a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has successfully completed an approved educational program and an evaluation process which includes an examination designed to assess the knowledge, skills, and experience required to provide quality patient care in that specialty” (from the ABMS Assembly).
Medical specialty certification must be differentiated from a physician’s ability to designate a special area of interest. This practice, used by the American Medical Association and many local medical societies, is known as a “self-designated specialty.”
How do you find out which doctor is board certified?
You can check on specific physicians through the American Board of Medical Specialties website, CertificationMatters.org. Verbal verification is available through the ABMS toll-free telephone service by calling 866 ASK-ABMS (275-2267). Verification is available in The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists, published annually. The directory can be found in many medical and public libraries. Written verification is available by contacting the individual specialty board in the physician’s field of practice.
Major hospitals are very diligent in credentialing surgeons for privileges to perform specific procedures. Furthermore, in a hospital setting, surgeons are subject to peer review (case reviews), which enforces acceptable standards. Any hospital medical staff office can provide this information. One can simply call a hospital staff office and ask if the doctor they are interested in has privileges to perform the procedure they desire. If a doctor doesn’t have privileges to perform that procedure, a patient should be wary.
The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) requires American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) certification for membership. The ASPS oversees continuing medical education, practice standards and ethics. The symbol of the ASPS has become a symbol of excellence in plastic surgery. plasticsurgery.org.
The American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) also requires board certification by the ABPS as well as expertise in the subspecialty of cosmetic surgery. surgery.org.
The Dallas Society of Plastic Surgeons is a group of Dallas area plastic surgeons committed to excellence in plastic surgery, patient safety and patient education. All members of the Dallas Society of Plastic Surgeons are board-certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery. All of our surgeons have hospital privileges at local hospitals to perform all of the procedures that they offer in their accredited office surgical suite.
The members of the Dallas Society of Plastic Surgeons feel that obtaining information about credentials and hospital privileges must be part of your decision to select a particular surgeon. Other factors that one should consider are the surgeon’s reputation, referrals by physicians or friends and – most importantly – one’s comfort level and confidence in the surgeon. One can only determine this after a consultation with the physician personally.