What is Board Certification?
Medical specialty certification in the United States is a voluntary process. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements to diagnose and treat patients, it is not specialty specific. Board certification demonstrates a physician’s exceptional expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice. Patients, physicians, healthcare providers, insurers and quality organizations look for the certifications as the best measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality healthcare within a given specialty.
About the Certification Process
To practice medicine in the United States, doctors must be licensed by the states in which they work. However, being licensed does not indicate whether a doctor is qualified to practice in a specific medical specialty, such as family medicine, surgery or dermatology. One of the best ways to know if your doctor has the qualifications to provide care in a specialty is to find out if he or she is Board Certified and participating in activities to stay up-to-date with the latest advances in medicine and patient care.
Board Certified doctors voluntarily meet additional standards beyond basic licensing. They demonstrate their expertise by earning Board Certification through one of the 24 Member Boards that are part of the not-for-profit American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Before a doctor can become Board Certified, each must complete:
- 4 years of premedical education in a college or university
- a course of study leading to an MD or DO degree from a qualified medical school
- 3-5 years of full-time experience in an accredited residency training program.
Each doctor earns initial Board Certification by passing a written and, in some cases, an oral examination created and administered by the Member Board in his or her specialty. This is just the first step in the career-long learning and assessment process required by the rigorous ABMS MOC® program. To maintain Board Certification, a doctor must actively keep pace with the latest advances in his or her specialty and demonstrate best practices for patient safety, communications and ethics.
Both Dr. Chang and Dr. Thornton are certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery, sanctioned by the American Board of Medical Specialties, for plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgery of the whole body, from head to toe. Don’t trust your body to just anyone! Ensure they have the best training and meet the exacting standards of the board. If you’re ready to learn more, contact us today to schedule your consultation.