Medical Board Certification
1.) Is my doctor board certified?
This is a very important question for any doctor that cares for you. Board certification is important as it implies that your physician meets certain specific standards in their field of practice. It is very important that the Board Certification of your physician is recognized and accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Most physicians who practice interventional pain Management are anesthesiologist, interventional radiologists and physical medicine and rehabilitation (PMR) doctors with specific training in interventional pain management. As anesthesiology training involves learning the techniques of various nerve blocks, spinal injections and epidural injections, it is generally recognized as a primary training source for interventional pain management physician. The American Board of Anesthesiology is an ABMS certified board that offers board certification for interventional pain management and anesthesiology.
You can verify your doctors ABMS board certification status independently on the internet at: www.abms.org. On the home page in the upper left hand corner is an index. At the bottom of the index, click the tab “Is Your Doctor Certified”. You can check on any specific physician’s qualifications. When checking for board certification, remember also to check which specialty your doctor has certification in.
It is very important to note that as interventional pain management is a rapidly growing medical specialty and that new and improved techniques and procedures are being developed regularly. Continued education by your doctors is important not only for review but also to learn these new techniques. Several professional organizations offer educational and training programs to assist physicians in the further development of their existing skills. It should be understood that these review and training courses are not intended as primary training programs for physicians not already specifically trained in interventional pain management. These courses general intent is as a learning tool for established interventional pain management physicians. Unfortunately, some physicians who have not completed residency or fellowship training in interventional pain management claim “Board Certification: based upon completion of these “weekend” courses.
The American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP) is one such post-graduate training program for practicing physicians. It is an excellent course of study for practicing interventional pain physicians however it is not an ABMS certified program. While this course of study does help update and train practicing interventional physicians in newer techniques and didactic information regarding pain management, it does not oversee residency or fellowship training programs.
2.) Is my doctor appropriately trained in interventional pain management?
Another important question regards the specific residency or fellowship training programs completed by your physician. Once again, anesthesiology, interventional radiology and some PMR programs offer specific training in interventional pain medicine. While other specialties offer training in pain medicine such as neurology, these are generally medically oriented and not specific interventional programs. Names such “Neuromuscular Medicine”, “Pain Medicine” and “Biomechanical Pain Therapy” are sometimes used to describe these subspecialties. While each of these medical specialties offers a wide range of effective medical and physical medicine techniques, they are not intended to cover the wide range of injections performed by interventional pain physicians.
Finally, it is also important to check to see if your doctor was trained at a residency program that is certified by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This organization insures a strict standard of specific clinical study and training in each specialty.
All three physicians at Charlottesville Pain Management center have completed their training at the University of Virginia with the Department of Anesthesiology and Pain Management an ACGME accredited residency and fellowship training program. They are also all Board Certified by the American Board of Anesthesiology an ABMS accredited medical board.