New ABFAS Statement on Credentialing & Privileging

September 2020

States and healthcare organizations vary in their credentialing and privileging requirements and processes. The U.S. Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Conditions of Participation prohibit hospitals from using board certification as the only criterion for privileging a practitioner’s scope of services. Rather, credentialing bodies may require board eligibility or certification as one of several measures for determining an individual Doctor of Podiatric Medicine’s (DPM) qualification for surgical privileges.

The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) believes that when board certification is among the criteria under consideration for credentialing and privileging, the governing body should depend on certification provided by the specialty board recognized for assessing the qualification and training of candidates within that specific specialty.

There are two specialties within the profession of podiatric medicine: general medicine and surgery. Each specialty is served by its own board, both of which are recognized by the Council on Podiatric Medical Education’s (CPME) Joint Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards (JCRSB). The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) focuses their efforts on the training, qualification, and certification of candidates in the specialty of foot and ankle surgery, while the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) is the primary certifying board for primary podiatric medicine and podiatric orthopedics.

ABFAS firmly believes that this bifurcation of certifying bodies within the podiatric profession provides important clarity to credentialing bodies and the public because it delineates between surgical and nonsurgical expertise. With this delineation, consumers can reliably know the experience of the doctor they choose; and hospitals, medical groups, and insurers can make informed decisions about who they want serving as privileged surgeons.

ABFAS believes that, for hospitals which require board qualification or certification to obtain credentials and privileges to perform podiatric surgery, ABFAS certification is the credential that best demonstrates a candidate’s relevant qualification, competence, and expertise for surgical privileges.