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FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

1. Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. recognized by the American Medical Association?

2. Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties?

3. Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. recognized by Health Insurance Companies, Managed Care Organizations and Hospital Staffs?



QUESTION: Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. recognized by the American Medical Association?

ANSWER

A person, who is an officer of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* (the professional association that recognizes the General Practice Board of America, Inc.), has periodically checked with the Office of General Counsel of the American Medical Association (AMA) about the issue of AMA Recognition of Specialty/Certifying Boards. On each occassion when the AMA's Office of General Counsel was asked about this issue, this person, who is an officer of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*, was told that the AMA does not recognize any board. Any person who has any question about this should check directly with the AMA's Office of General Counsel.

A person, who is an officer of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*, has had multiple direct meetings with various officials of the AMA, including a former AMA Director of Specialty Society Relations and a former AMA President. At each meeting, the AMA Officials were warm and receptive and seemed concerned about the various issues which were discussed with them. During many of these meetings, the issue of general practice board certification was discussed.

The General Practice Board of America, Inc. is recognized by a non-profit professional association which is a similar type of non-profit professional association as the AMA. The General Practice Board of America, Inc. is recognized by the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*. The AMA is a 501(c)(6) non-profit professional association and the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* is organized to become a 501(c)6 non-profit professional association.

It is not necessary for the General Practice Board of America, Inc. to be recognized by the AMA. Recognition by one professional association is sufficient (that association being the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*). There is not a need to be recognized by a second non-profit professional association (such as the AMA).

Because the General Practice Board of America, Inc. is recognized by the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*, the General Practice Board of America, Inc. is not a self-designated board.

The following are exerpts from the American Medical Association Organized Medical Staff Section Proceedings of the Twenty-Sixth Assembly Meeting, November 30 - December 4, 1995, Washington Hilton and Towers Hotel, Washington, DC:

 

The following excerpts are from the document that is the official record of the actions of the American Medical Association Organized Medical Staff Section (AMA-OMSS)

OMSS Governing Council Report B

Page 68

 

(quoting)
"In addition to the ABMS member boards, there are at least 126 self-designated boards that certify physicians in specialties."
(end quote)

(quoting)
"Many self-designated boards do require physicians to complete residency training in their specialties. A few others may have more stringent requirements."
(end quote)

(quoting)
"Current AMA policy, which is outlined in Appendix B, indicates: . . . that individual medical staffs should have flexibility in determining which, if any, specialty board certification will be used as a criterion to delineate clinical privileges; . . ."
(end quote)

Page 71

 

Appendix B

AMA Policy

(quoting with emphasis)
"The AMA believes that medical staffs should have flexibility in determining which, if any, specialty board certification will be used as a criterion to delineate clinical privileges. (BOT Rep. XX, I-86)"
(end quote)

 

The following is an exerpt from the American Medical Association Organized Medical Staff Section Proceedings of the Twenty-Seventh Assembly Meeting, June 20-24, 1996, Chicago Marriott Downtown, Chicago, IL:

 

The following excerpt is from the document that is the official record of the actions of the American Medical Association Organized Medical Staff Section (AMA-OMSS)

Report E: Unfettered Physician Advertising
of Boarded Status (Resolution B8, I95)

Page 94

 

(quoting with emphasis)
"Upon considering the issues of board certification and advertising that were raised in Governing Council Report B, I-95, the AMA Office of General Counsel (OGC) informed the Governing Council of the following:
 

The AMA staff, with representatives from five national medical specialty societies, negotiated for three years with staff of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to develop language to include in a document entitled, 'Guidelines for Truthful Advertising of Physician Services' on what could be said about board certification. . . . FTC's position is that limiting which boards a physician can hold him or herself out to the public as being certified by is anticompetitive."

 
(end quote)

 

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QUESTION: Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties?

ANSWER

It is the understanding of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* (the professional association that recognizes the General Practice Board of America, Inc.) that the American Board of Medical Specialties is an association of boards which is only for medical boards that examine and certify solely in a specialty. For this reason, it is the opinion of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* that the American Board of Medical Specialties does not have any authority over, or involvement with, the general practice of medicine. "General Practice", by definition, is non-specialization.

Since the 1800's, the general practice of medicine has had a long and prestigious history and has been recognized by the healthcare community and public as being a highly respected type of practice and area of medicine. However, it has generally never been recognized as a specialty. Many licensed general practitioners have defined a "General Practitioner" as a physician who chooses not to specialize.

Since the General Practice Board of America, Inc. does not primarily examine or certify in a specialty area of medicine, it should not be expected for it to be, or seek to be, a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties; just as it would not be expected for a dental or osteopathic board to be, or seek to be, a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

It is not necessary for the General Practice Board of America, Inc. to be a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). There are many non-ABMS Boards which are generally recognized by the healthcare community as being at least equal to ABMS Boards. For example, the American Board of Oral Surgery is not an ABMS Board. The Podiatric Board is not an ABMS Board. Additionally, the Osteopathic Boards are not ABMS Boards. Yet, the Osteopathic Boards and the American Board of Oral Surgery are generally recognized by the healthcare community as being at least equal to ABMS Boards.

It is the opinion of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* that, in so far as the general practice of medicine is concerned, the standards established by the General Practice Board of America, Inc. for obtaining a designation of board certified status is at least equal to, if not greater than, the standards established by the member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties for their respective specialties.

It is the opinion of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* that just as the Osteopathic Boards and the American Board of Oral Surgery are recognized as being at least equal to ABMS Boards, so should the General Practice Board of America, Inc. be recognized as being at least equal to ABMS Boards, in so far as the general practice of medicine is concerned.

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QUESTION: Is the General Practice Board of America, Inc. recognized by Health Insurance Companies, Managed Care Organizations and Hospital Staffs?

ANSWER

The General Practice Board of America, Inc. does not maintain a directory of the different health insurance companies, managed care organizations and hospital staffs which have accepted and recognized the General Practice Board of America, Inc. This is because it is the opinion of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* that there is no valid reason for the General Practice Board of America, Inc. not to be recognized or accepted by any health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff.

It should, however, be clearly understood by all persons, that each health insurance company, managed care organization and hospital staff determines its own credentialing criteria and such criteria may vary. In fact, a person, who is an official of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.*, has observed variations in credentialing criteria among health insurance companies, managed care organizations and hospital staffs. Variations in credentialing criteria have even been observed from state to state and region to region within the same organization.

If recognition or acceptance of the General Practice Board of America, Inc. by a particular health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff is an issue for, or of concern or important to, any physician, then such physician should check directly with such health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff as to its specific credentialing criteria.

Obviously, since each health insurance company, managed care organization and hospital staff determines its own credentialing criteria and since such criteria varies from company to company, organization to organization and hospital to hospital and also from state to state and region to region, it is impossible for there to be any guarantee that any specific health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital in a specific region in a specific state will recognize and/or accept the General Practice Board of America, Inc.

If a member of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* has any problem with any health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff regarding his/her designation of board certified or board eligible status, then the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* can send a letter directly to such health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff, upon the request of such member.

If a member of the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* continues to have any problem with any health insurance company, managed care organization or hospital staff regarding his/her designation of board certified or board eligible status, then the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc.* may provide such member with information pertaining to other options which he/she may wish to pursue.

The reason a physician should seek a designation of either a board certified or board eligible status by the General Practice Board of America, Inc. is because such physician desires such status from a board which has been recognized by a peer. Such peer recognition should be the sole motivating factor. The General Practice Board of America, Inc. discourages any physician from seeking such status for any commercial reason.

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* The General Physicians Academy of America, Inc. is a non-profit academic professional association of general practitioners. For additional information about the General Physicians Academy of America, Inc., visit its website at: www.generalpractice-academy.org.