ABFAS Statement on Opening of ABPM’s Certificate Registration

Note: It is important for patients, providers and the podiatric community to understand the differences between ABFAS Board Certification and ABPM’s unrecognized CAQ in podiatric surgery. The two are not comparable credentials. Learn more now.

August 17, 2022

The American Board of Foot and Ankle Surgery (ABFAS) strives to protect and improve public health and welfare by advancing the art and science of foot and ankle surgery. More than 10,000 podiatrists have earned ABFAS Board Certification by successfully meeting our high standards for demonstrating competency and proficiency.* We are committed to serving the podiatric community and preserving trust in our profession.  
Like many of you, we were disappointed in this week’s decision by the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) to open applications for a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) in Podiatric Surgery outside of the profession’s traditionally rigorous certification process. Several leading podiatric organizations have raised serious concerns about ABPM’s rush to launch the new CAQ and the potential confusion it may cause among patients and hospitals. We have been encouraged to see many comments that reflect concerns we share, including: 

“ACFAS is alarmed by the announcement from the American Board of Podiatric Medicine (ABPM) that it plans to issue an unrecognized certificate in podiatric surgery. Allowing a Certificate of Added Qualification (CAQ) not recognized by any accrediting body and circumvents the JCRSB determination risks safe patient care, the public’s trust and the reputation of our profession.”
American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) 

“...the Council believes it would be confusing to the public to provide a qualification in podiatric surgery when there is a surgical certification board within the profession. [...] CPME requests, for the best interest of the profession, that all specialty boards refrain from implementing CAQs, including the CAQ in podiatric surgery, until the rewrite process is complete.” 
Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME), 8/11/22 
“A CAQ in Podiatric Surgery offered by ABPM would seem to be a duplication of what is already offered by the recognized board for certification in surgery. APMA believes there is a strong possibility that a CAQ in Podiatric Surgery could confuse and mislead the public. [...] The CAQ in Podiatric Surgery has a high potential to mislead a patient to believe a surgeon has more experience and expertise than they do. The CAQ also causes greater confusion for other health-care specialties, insurance companies, state legislators, and hospitals, which already frequently mischaracterize podiatrists’ education, training, and certification.” 
American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA), 8/12/22 
“Not only is the addition of ABPM’s CAQ in Podiatric Surgery duplicative, but it creates fragmentation within the podiatric medical profession. This will no doubt lead to confusion amongst employers, allopathic/osteopathic colleagues, and the general public in regard to all podiatrists’ surgical qualifications. [...] This is a serious threat to the health and safety of the general public as well as the podiatric medical profession.”  
Minnesota Podiatric Medical Association Letter to CPME  

A commitment to surgical excellence and the highest standards of care are shared values that unite our community. Abandoning this commitment and risking a loss of public trust in our profession’s certification processes will ultimately weaken the entire podiatric medical profession.  
With that in mind, we join other leaders in the podiatric community in calling upon ABPM to immediately suspend applications for its CAQ in podiatric surgery until the profession’s Specialty Board Recognition Committee (SBRC) concludes its rulemaking process, which begins in November. 


The ABFAS Board of Directors 
Amberly C. Paradoa, DPM, D.ABFAS, President  
Jeffery L. Giesking, DPM, D.ABFAS, President-elect 
Nicole A. Bauerly, DPM, D.ABFAS, Secretary/Treasurer 
William R. Adams, DPM, D.ABFAS, Immediate Past President 
Michelle L. Butterworth, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Michael D. Dujela, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
John T. Marcoux, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Roland S. Ramdass, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director 
Katie M. Swanstrom, DPM, D.ABFAS, ABFAS Director
*ABFAS Exam Pass Rates