Saturday, December 10, 2005

Reader Question about the new Sleep Boards

In response to my post about the new Sleep Board examinations, a reader asks "I guess the question is this: do these changes appear to serve any real purpose, or is it just another turf battle?If so, are there really any sleep specialists who need to protect their turf? The ones I know all have ponderous waiting lists."
There is a turf battle going on, but it is not among sleep specialists in private practice. This battle is within academic medicine; The American Board of Medical Specialties and The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education are trying to consolidate their control. The American Board Medical Specialties is trying to eliminate any medical board/examination not under its direct control (such as the American Board of Sleep Medicine, which is an independent board). The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education wants complete control of all residency and fellowship training in the US.
As a sleep specialist in private practice, I am upset that I will have to take the new sleep boards in several years; I am proud to currently be a diplomate of the American Board of Sleep Medicine.
In my earlier post, I mentioned that family practitioners would be inelgible for the new sleep boards. My understanding is that this was by choice of their board, and is not due to conflict with any of the other member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
The American Board of Sleep Medicine is not innocent in all of this; the leadership of the board cooperated in its own destruction.
This post is a departure from the usual professional tone I try to maintain on this blog (I try to save my rants for Rebel Doctor). Please feel free to disagree in the commment section; I may republish some of the disagreements in a regular post.


Eric Clemons said...

I was under the impression that all current diplomates of the ABSM who are MD's would be eligible to become certified through the practice pathway (and could sit for the first three exams). This would certainly help out your acquaintances and would keep anyone from losing their practices.
I had heard at one point Family Practice did not want to sponsor the ABIM exam as they are planning to offer their own certification to family practitioners. That would explain their reasoning.
Lastly, I think it is unclear at this point what the new certification will mean. For academicians they will likely need this. For those in private practice I suspect the certification by the ABSM will be sufficient for most insurance companies for the foreseeable future and may make obtaining the new certification less of a necessity.

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