ABMS Assembly Votes in Favor of Three-Year Initiative to Enhance Public Trust in Board Certification Process

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The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the not-for-profit organization that oversees physician certification in the United States through its 24 Member Boards, announced today approval of a new initiative designed for the public to enhance physician performance assessment. Called the ABMS 2008-2011 Enhanced Public Trust Initiative, its goal is to enhance the ABMS Board Enterprise's role as a trusted private sector agent when it comes to physician accountability and to expand resource offerings for the public's need.

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Consumers are taking a more active role in their own healthcare decisions and are demanding greater transparency, which is a good thing

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The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the not-for-profit organization that oversees physician certification in the United States through its 24 Member Boards, announced today approval of a new initiative designed for the public to enhance physician performance assessment. Called the ABMS 2008-2011 Enhanced Public Trust Initiative, its goal is to enhance the ABMS Board Enterprise's role as a trusted private sector agent when it comes to physician accountability and to expand resource offerings for the public's need.

For the past 75 years, ABMS and its Member Boards have been a leading and trusted resource for consumers and healthcare professionals seeking information on physician qualifications. Today the need for reliable information is even greater than ever as the quest to improve the quality and efficiency of medical care in the United States has become paramount.

"Consumers are taking a more active role in their own healthcare decisions and are demanding greater transparency, which is a good thing," said Kevin B. Weiss, MD, ABMS president and CEO. "ABMS is in a prime position to be a leading voice for physician accountability in the quality movement, but we cannot do so without first assuring the public of our renewed commitment to ensuring quality of care. To meet consumers' expectations, ABMS and its Member Boards will work together to attain the next phase of healthcare leadership with the public's interest as our foremost concern."

To launch the initiative two task forces will be established, one to examine how ABMS' governance can be more responsive to the need for public transparency in physician accountability. A second task force made up of public and medical professional members will convene to guide the design and implementation of new program initiatives that will strengthen ABMS' offerings as a trusted public agent. The task force will broadly focus on a number of proposed programs that aim to increase public trust, streamline and enhance value in ABMS Maintenance of Certification™ (MOC) and increase capacity through enhanced activities in national health policy, international program development and the expansion of research activities and performance evaluation.
"This is an exciting time for ABMS and its Member Boards as we have the opportunity to collaborate, with public input, to achieve our shared goals," Dr. Weiss said.

The resolution was approved May 16, 2008 by the ABMS Assembly authorizing the new initiative which was originally presented on March 18, 2008 by the ABMS Board of Directors. The Assembly voted to pass the resolution by more than the two-thirds majority required.

About ABMS
Now in its 75th year, American Board of Medical Specialties is the pre-eminent medical organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. It assists its 24 Member Boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation and certification of physician specialists. ABMS Member Boards provide physician certification information to ABMS for its certification verification service programs. ABMS is recognized by the key healthcare credentialing accreditation entities as a primary equivalent source of board certification data for medical specialists. Patients can visit http://www.abms.org or call toll-free 1-866-ASK-ABMS to see if their physician is board certified by an ABMS Member Board. For more information about ABMS visit http://www.abms.org or call (847) 491-9091.

The 24 Member Boards that make up the ABMS Board Enterprise covers over 145 medical specialties and subspecialties include: American Board of Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Anesthesiology, American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, American Board of Dermatology, American Board of Emergency Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Medical Genetics, American Board of Neurological Surgery, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Ophthalmology, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, American Board of Pathology, American Board of Pediatrics American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Preventive Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Board of Radiology, American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery, and American Board of Urology.

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