Consumers wanting to verify physician credentials can now call a toll-free hotline sponsored by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Operators will quickly identify which doctors in each local area meet advanced ABMS board certification standards, and in which specialties.
The number (800-776-CERT) is being published in 2,000 yellow pages directories across the nation beginning as part of an ABMS-sponsored information campaign to help consumers sort through directory ads and misleading claims of medical expertise, said ABMS Vice President Donald Langsley.
ABMS is the umbrella organization for the 23 American Medical Association and ABMS approved medical certification boards that certify doctors in 24 specialties and 56 subspecialties after they meet strict education and training requirements. Only about two thirds of the nation's 800,000 licensed physicians are ABMS board certified.
According to Langsley, the single most confusing aspect of medical advertising today is that while many doctors claim board certification status, some neglect to mention what board, education, or training requirements were met, or even if the claimed certification is for the same medical specialty currently being practiced.
New ABMS yellow pages advertisements under "physicians and surgeons" will begin with a large display of the ABMS crest, an explanation of strict ABMS board certification criteria, and will highlight the hotline number consumers may call to check the credentials of local doctors.
Participating doctors will be listed under specific ABMS medical specialty or subspecialty headings that follow the hotline number. Each column of listings will be clearly marked and will feature a prominently displayed ABMS crest and statement of certification criteria. Participating doctors will pay a fee to cover the cost of their listing and the 24-hour ABMS hotline number.
For more information, contact Donald Langsley, MD, ABMS, 708-491-9091.