Here are some of our most frequently asked questions:

Is NBPAS “accepted” or “recognized” by hospitals, payers (i.e. insurance companies), and state medical boards?
This is the most common question we receive. It is important to understand what ”accepted” or “recognized” means with respect to these types of organizations.

For hospitals, NBPAS acceptance usually means the hospital’s Board of Directors will accept NBPAS certification instead of ABMS member board (or AOA) certification for hospital privileges. The process for gaining acceptance usually starts with an interested physician making a presentation to the hospital’s Medical Executive Committee (MEC), where they vote to recommend the hospital’s Board of Directors accept NBPAS as an alternative. There are currently over 60 U.S. hospitals that either accept NPBAS certification for privileges or have eliminated MOC requirements from their bylaws. We are fighting to increase hospital acceptance/recognition by: providing advocacy materials on the Advocacy Center tab of our website, engaging our >400 volunteer physician Advocacy Committee, lobbying (within the limits allowed by law) state legislators to pass anti-MOC bills, and meeting with the FTC to consider the anti-competitive aspects of MOC.

For payers (insurance companies), NBPAS acceptance means the insurer will contract with physicians whose ABMS or AOA certification has expired but who have current NBPAS certification. Acceptance by payers is critical for widespread growth of NBPAS, and no insurer that we know of currently accepts NBPAS. It has been very difficult to get the attention of insurance company’s management on this issue. While currently frustrating, we believe our continued growth and political activity will win over the payers. We especially believe passing anti-MOC bills in many states will be very helpful to our goal of gaining acceptance by insurers.

For state medical boards, acceptance is usually irrelevant. State medical boards do not require board certification or MOC as a requirement for initial licensure or MOL (maintenance of licensure).  One important function of NBPAS is to bring awareness of this controversy to the state medical boards, which will help deter any efforts to make MOC a requirement for MOL in the future. However, there is one caveat we are aware of. A few states, including California and Texas, have laws requiring ABMS (or AOA) member board, or equivalent, certification if a physician advertises they are a “board certified specialist.” These laws define “equivalent” very restrictively, so as the laws currently stand, NBPAS would not qualify. As NBPAS gains more widespread growth, we believe these laws will be changed.

If I am currently board certified but not due for re-certification for several years, should I still certify with NBPAS?
YES! While you could wait, the more physicians NBPAS certifies, the stronger and more influential it will be. This is a grass roots organization. We need your support.

What specialties are offered?
We are currently accepting applications for all ABMS and AOA specialties. Check out our full list of specialties by clicking here.

When applying for certification for multiple specialties, do I need all 50 hours in every specialty?
No, a total of 50 CME hours in any of the specialties applied for is sufficient. However, if any of your specialties have lapsed (i.e. you were once certified but did not re-certify), you must have 100 CME hours in that specialty.

If I am grandfathered in a specialty (i.e. my ABMS member certification never expires) do I need to have 50 or 100 hours of CME?
If you are grandfathered in a specialty, your certification has not, by definition, expired and you only need to submit at least 50 hours (not 100 hours) of CMEs completed in the past 24 months.

What types of CMEs does NBPAS accept?
NBPAS accepts only AMA PRA Category 1 credits for MDs, and AOA Category 1A & 2A credits for DOs. Please note: BLS, ALS, ACLS, PALS, NRP are accepted ONLY if they are provided by an accredited provider. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) points are accepted ONLY if official certificates and transcripts are provided in conjunction with MOC points.

My CME documents didn’t upload during my application process. How can I submit CME documents to NBPAS?
CME documents can also be submitted via fax to (888) 861-4449 or via email to documents@nbpas.org.

What is the turn-around time for NBPAS certification?
Up to 4 weeks for processing time.

What is the cost for NBPAS certification?
First-time NBPAS certification is $169 for MDs and $189 for DOs. Renewal certification is $145 for MDs and $165 for DOs. Discounts are available for fellows and military.

Where does the application fee go?
This is a new organization. Our major expenses relate to website design/maintenance, support staff salaries, legal, computers, office space and supplies. In the near future, we will need funds to spread the word and lobby hospitals, payers and politicians. Physician management has not taken any salary.  We are working very hard to contain costs and keep application fees low. In future years, we will adjust application fees (hopefully down) as needed. We have not yet asked for donations because at this time we would rather see funds used for applications. We will invite donations in the future. Getting NBPAS to this stage has required many hundreds of detailed tasks.

What if I do not have a license to practice medicine in the U.S.?
NBPAS requires that all candidates hold a valid, unrestricted medical license. If you hold a license outside of the U.S. you must provide evidence of an unrestricted license from a valid non-U.S. licensing body.

Which hospitals and payers currently accept NBPAS certification?
Click here to see the full list of hospitals and payers currently accepting NBPAS certification.

What is preventing NBPAS from becoming another ABMS in the future, since ABMS also started with very similar goals of NBPAS?
Any organization can change over time. It is up to its members to track their organization, change it or leave it if it no longer serves them. We started NBPAS because we are unhappy with ABMS. If NBPAS is no longer relevant, we would expect the membership to voice its displeasure and depart.

Isn’t MOC required by the ACA?
No. Earlier, there was a provision for physician incentive payments tied to quality reporting in the ACA (and MOC was listed as one, but not the only, option of fulfilling this requirement) but this had a sunset in 2014. It is not an issue.

Won’t the FSMB’s proposed Interstate Compact define a physician as certified by ABMS or alternatively AOA?  Won’t this ultimately require MOC for licensure in states that join it?
This is posted as a “Myth” on the Federation of State Medical Boards website. But some believe it will ultimately prove true. If so, our best response is to include NBPAS certification on the list of certifications acceptable to the Federation. This requires lobbying and large numbers of NBPAS certified physicians.  Below is an excerpt from the Federation’s website in a section titled “Six Myths about the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact”:

MYTH: It is alleged that physicians participating in the Compact would be required to participate in Maintenance of Certification (MOC), or that MOC is an eligibility requirement for the Compact.

FACT: The Compact makes absolutely no reference to Maintenance of Certification (MOC) or its osteopathic counterpart, Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC). The Compact does not require a physician to participate in MOC, nor does it require or even make mention of the need to participate in MOC as a licensure renewal requirement in any state. Once a physician is issued a license via the Compact from a state, he or she must adhere (as now) to the renewal and continuing medical education requirements of that state. No state requires MOC as a condition for licensure renewal, and therefore, this will not be required for physicians participating in the Compact.

See the complete list of myths here: http://www.fsmb.org/globalassets/advocacy/news-releases/2015/news_release_fsmb_compact_response30jan2015_final.pdf

To respond to the critics, why doesn’t the NBPAS provide some kind of mandatory test? Wouldn’t that enhance the credibility of NBPAS?
The NBPAS board considered this at its inception and the question comes up frequently in our ongoing discussions. The majority (but not 100%) of NBPAS board members do not believe adding a mandatory test would enhance physician learning, or patient care. We do agree that adding a test might provide the “appearance” of a more rigorous continuous certification process. We would be creating literally over 100 annual tests (that is the number of subspecialties in the ABMS) just to enhance NBPAS “credibility.” Our tests would be no better than the ABMS member board tests. We believe there is no test that can be universally applied to all doctors in one specialty. Dr Teirstein, an interventional cardiologist, uses the analogy that he considers himself an expert in replacing aortic valves but his partner works on mitral valves. Dr Teirstein does not want to be tested on mitral valve repair. The NBPAS board will continue to consider adding a mandatory test, but we believe creating a test to quiet the critics is not a good answer to the question of how to best maintain physician competence.

How can I further help and support NBPAS with its efforts?
Be sure to spread the word with your colleagues and your hospital medical executive committee about NBPAS.

If you can lend a hand and become an Advocate, please click here.