We are aware that another podiatry board issued a policy letter and requested its diplomates deliver it to their hospitals, which in part, reads “it would be in the best interests of patients for the hospital to require [their] Certification for podiatric surgeons.”


Obviously, this letter uncovers the desperation of elitism when it is challenged by truth.


There’s a saying in the profession: “Podiatrists eat their young.” We’ve all heard it. Many of us have even experienced it.


It means that some podiatrists use their positions of authority in the profession, their hospital, or their practice to take advantage of new podiatrists. This can be exhibited by policies that create hardships, restriction of surgical privileges, and reduced economic opportunities to the new podiatrist. Oftentimes, the root of this behavior is anticompetitive. 


Board certification in podiatry has existed since 1975. There were once multiple boards, but through mergers and attrition now there are only two that are recognized by CPME. For the first two decades of podiatric board certification, the “founders” created the rules, like a club. They never completed the same entry requirements that new podiatrists must endure and they created lifetime certification for themselves so they wouldn’t have to retest.


Grandfathering and lifetime certification are phasing out, but the ABPM strongly opposes the undue hardship still caused by some other boards in podiatry which have no proven benefit on patient safety.


Specifically, we oppose:

- Creating a costly and multi-step process for board certification with subjective assessment of cases

- Fragmenting the specialty of podiatric surgery into 2 exams, increasing time and cost

- Not being transparent about scoring and pass rates

- Recommending hospitals limit surgical privileges to only their diplomates, alienating the rest of the profession who may be surgically-trained, competent, and even have achieved primary certification in podiatry


A certifying board’s primary duty is to protect the public. This is done through a process of examination to assess one’s cognitive knowledge. But have other podiatry boards ever proven that the public is better protected by a podiatrist with their particular certification versus one without it? The answer is a resounding NO!


A podiatrist’s education, training, and experience in the application of their knowledge and skills is what provides them the confidence and competence to medically and surgically treat the foot and ankle. The profession has advanced to a 3-year standardized residency training program. A board should test to the level of the CPME-approved residency training and not some arbitrary standard above that set by a club of podiatrists.


This discriminatory letter authored by another board is not consistent with the APMA’s position in its Hospital Privileging and Credentialing Resource Guide or with CMS Conditions of Participation (codified in federal law) which state that a provider's privileges be based on their education, training, and experience. CMS further clarifies that under no circumstances should board certification be the sole criterion in privileging, but if it is an element, that it be certification in one’s primary specialty.


The position espoused by the other board ignores the training a podiatrist receives in a standardized, CPME-approved residency training and disparages the entire profession by falsely accusing those without their certification as not competent to perform surgery and a risk to public safety. 


If any podiatrist suffers any damages from the aforementioned letter, including denial or restriction of privileges, we want to know about it immediately. Please contact the ABPM Headquarters.


The ABPM takes its role in protecting the public very seriously while promoting parity with other boards and nondiscrimination of all podiatrists. Our exam is validated by independent psychometrists. The pass rate of the recent ABPM certification exam was 86%, commensurate with MD and DO primary and specialty boards. Contrary to baseless accusations, ABPM is not an easier board, ABPM is a fairer board. It’s what the profession and our patients deserve. 


Thank you for your support as we continue Certifying Today’s Podiatrist and moving Podiatry Forward.


The ABPM Board of Directors

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The American Board of Podiatric Medicine | www.PodiatryBoard.org
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