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ASPS and Louisiana Society of Plastic Surgeons Testify on Board Certification

ASPS played an integral role in assisting the plastic surgeons of Louisiana in their quest to promote patient safety in their state by fighting back against the latest attempt by the American Board of Cosmetic Surgery (ABCS), a non-ABMS board, to gain equivalency to ABMS boards for the purpose of physician advertising as "board certified." ABCS was seeking to exploit the Louisiana Board of Medical Examiners (LSBME) powers to grant equivalency under existing state statute. The LSBME drafted rules for how it would evaluate equivalency requests like that submitted by ABCS, and ASPS worked with the LSBME to ensure that said rules were appropriately interpreted before their final adoption.

The State of Louisiana already has language on their books promoting truth in advertising, which was adopted in 2012, through the work of Dr. Ken Odinet, Dr. Simeon Wall, Jr., and other dedicated members of the Louisiana Society of Plastic Surgery. This language states that a physician cannot hold oneself out to the public as board certified unless they either (1) are advertising an ABMS or AOA member board, or (2) the LSBME has deemed their board equivalent. It was the second provision that ABCS was using to request that they be able to state their members are ABCS certified in cosmetic surgery. As a direct result of consistent direct lobbying and grassroots action by ASPS, the LSBME held a hearing on this issue.

ASPS Board Vice President for Health Policy and Advocacy, Dr. Anne Taylor, was on site to present testimony alongside Louisiana-based ASPS member surgeon Dr. Michael Hanemann. Their testimony focused on the facts - that the gold standard national credentialing bodies are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Osteopathic Association, and the ACGME; that ABCS fellowships are not recognized by these bodies; that only ACGME or AOA-accredited post-graduate training in the specific specialty named in a certification is sufficient for that certification to be publicly advertised; and that this is ultimately a patient safety issue.

Following ASPS and LSPS testimony, the LSBME decided to delay a vote on its proposed rules. Should you become aware of a similar situation in your state, please contact the ASPS Senior Manager of Advocacy and Government Affairs, Patrick Hermes, at phermes@plasticsurgery.org.