After sending threatening emails to AOA board-certified neurosurgeons regarding their use of the term “board certified,” the American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) is apologizing to those who received them, according to the AOA’s legal counsel.
The AOA intervened when members and the American College of Osteopathic Surgeons alerted General Counsel Josh Prober, JD, to the emails, which demanded that the member physicians stop using the term “board certified” because it “can be implied to represent board certification from the American Board of Neurological Surgery.”
The ABNS email further stated that “the situation will be elevated to our legal counsel for consideration of further action” if its demands were not met.
AOA board certification is widely recognized
“It was astonishing to see ABNS ignore the validity and existence of osteopathic certifying boards, despite the fact that AOA board certification is recognized by state and federal governments, hospitals, payers and the ACGME,” Prober says.
Regardless of the ABNS’s unsubstantiated assertion that the term “board certified” implies certification from a board affiliated with the American Board of Medical Specialties, there are multiple ways to be credibly board certified. The AOA offers board certification in 29 specialties and 77 subspecialties that are long-established credentials for osteopathic physicians.
“Numerous state statutes recognize the distinction between osteopathic and allopathic physicians and between AOA certification and ABMS board certification and also ensure their equal treatment,” Prober adds.
Some of the targeted physicians practice in California, where state statutes clearly specify equal treatment of DOs and MDs as well as AOA certification and ABMS certification, Prober notes.
Lawyers for ABNS admitted the board erred in sending its letter to AOA-certified physicians and apologized for its mistake. The board also agreed to send letters explaining its actions to DOs who received the offending ABNS notice.
Kamran Parsa, DO, president of the NeuroSpine Institute in Palmdale, California, was among the AOA board-certified neurosurgeons targeted by ABNS.
“I have always been and will always be a proud DO. Today, even more so,” Dr. Parsa says. “My colleagues and I had incredible support from the AOA and ACOS and are grateful that the osteopathic community put a stop to this harassment from ABNS.”
AOA members with similar complaints are encouraged to call (888) 62-MYAOA or submit an issue online.