Most hospitals surveyed do not initially require board certification of pediatricians

A survey of 200 hospitals found that nearly 80 percent do not require board certification of pediatricians at the time of initial granting of hospital privileges, although most hospitals do require board certification at some point in the pediatrician's tenure, according to a study in the February 22 issue of JAMA.

At hospitals, privileging involves the granting of permission for physicians to perform specific activities under the hospital's jurisdiction. Medical specialties evaluate and recognize competence among physicians through the creation of specialty boards and testing for board certification, according to background information in the article. It is unknown how or if hospitals use board certification as a proxy measure of professional competence in their privileging decisions.

Gary L. Freed, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Mich., and colleagues conducted a national survey to determine hospital policies and practices related to the recognition and use of board certification and recertification of pediatricians. The study consisted of a telephone survey, between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2005, of 200 nonspecialty hospitals stratified by teaching status, children's vs. general hospitals, freestanding children's hospital vs. part of hospital system, and urban vs. rural location.

The response rate to the survey was 82 percent (159 eligible hospitals). Overall, survey results showed that 124 hospitals (78 percent) did not require general pediatricians to be board certified at the time of initial privileging; however, 111 hospitals (70 percent) did require pediatricians to be board certified at some point during their tenure. Of the 124 hospitals that did not require board certification, 60 (48 percent) did report having some time frame in which certification must be achieved, typically 4 to 6 years.

"However, many of these hospitals [42 percent] do not have a specific time limit in which certification must be

Contact: Krista Hopson
JAMA and Archives Journals

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