Certification for Hospice and Palliative Medicine Specialists
Today, physicians specializing in hospice and palliative medicine have several certifications available to them beyond their primary board certification: ABMS, AOA, and HMDCB.
Since 2008, member boards of ABMS and AOA have certified physicians in the specialty-level practice of hospice and palliative medicine. There are 6,952 ABMS/AOA CAQ physicians in hospice and palliative medicine.
In 2012, AAHPM recommended the creation of the Hospice Medical Director Certification Board (HMDCB) to administer a certification that is complimentary to ABMS and AOA certification but specific to the practice of hospice medicine. The HMDCB examination assesses additional expertise in the unique competencies to perform the role of a hospice medical director, such as regulatory, administrative, legal, ethical competencies, and clinical skills appropriate for hospice patients.
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History of Certification
Certification is widely considered the gold standard of expertise in medicine because of its unique physician-directed approach for assessing qualifications. While medical licensure sets the minimum competency requirements, board certification demonstrates a physician's expertise in a particular specialty and/or subspecialty of medical practice.
Although certification is sought and earned by physicians on a voluntary basis, it is recognized by government, healthcare systems, insurers, and patients themselves as an essential tool to judge that a physician has the knowledge, experience, and skills for providing quality health care within a given specialty or subspecialty.
AAHPM has supported certification by its members since 1996. The creation of the American Board of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (ABHPM) provided an independent organization charged with certifying physicians practicing hospice and palliative medicine.
In October 2006, ABHPM offered its last certification exam in Hospice and Palliative Medicine and phased out recertification and support of existing certifications when the field was officially recognized as a subspecialty by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) in 2006 and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) in 2007. AAHPM maintains the ABHPM certification database and provides verification (upon request) for diplomates through 2017.