From: Jeff Leibovitz, DPM
We have refused this payment also but now UHC is only offering credit card or EFT payment options. There is no additional charge with EFT but there is no EOB to match to a patient. The time it takes to track and match the payments on their website is lengthy and an exercise in futility. I have not checked contracts to see if there is payment regulations/restrictions. If payors can save the expense by avoiding printing and mailing costs, we will be seeing a lot more of this. Any suggestions for recourse?
Jeff Leibovitz, DPM, Indianapolis, IN
From: Dave Williams, DPM
There is an alternative to ABFAS. The American Board of Lower Extremity Surgery (ABLES), is a multidisciplinary certifying board consisting of MDs, DOs, and DPMs who specialize in lower extremity surgery. The Board has been operating for more than thirty years and has certified many thousands of physicians who have gained privileges at hospitals in every state of the Union and Puerto Rico, based on their ABLES certification. The Board grants certification in both forefoot and rear foot surgery. If you are frustrated with ABFAS, ABLES is worth a look.
Dave Williams, DPM, El Paso, TX
From: Charles Lombardi, DPM
I think this may have been a major misstep - calling us "podiatric surgeons" means the only ones getting the pay raise would be surgeons. It should have been physicians. This is out of the VA handbook. It seems that now to be full-time, you must be boarded by ABFAS since that is the only surgery board.
(1) Physicians. Board certification may be verified through the Compendium of Medical Specialists, published by the American Board of Medical Specialists, or the Directory of American Medical Specialists, published by Marquis’ Who’s Who, or by direct communication with officials of the appropriate board. A letter from the board is acceptable for those recently certified. (The address and telephone number of the board may be obtained from the latest Directory of Approved Residency Programs published by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.) Copies of documents used to verify certification are to be filed in the [VHA credentialing file].
(2) Dentists. Board certification may be verified by the listings in the American Dental Directory published annually by the American Dental Association or by contacting the appropriate Dental Specialty Board. Addresses of these boards may be obtained from the American Dental Association.
(3) Podiatrists. Three specialties are currently recognized by the House of Delegates, American Podiatric Medical Association and VA: the American Board of Podiatric Surgery, American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics, and American Board of Podiatric Public Health. Addresses of these boards may be obtained from the latest American Podiatric Medical Association Directory.
Charles Lombardi, DPM, Bayside, NY
From: Paul Clint Jones, DPM
Thank God for people like Dr. Robert Steinberg. I salute his candor. I agree with him wholeheartedly. This idea that a problem goes away just by shouting louder is ridiculous. The problem with the ABFAS Board Certification is it is an entity unto itself with no oversight other than participating constituency. No APMA, No state Board, No, I see a problem here. Does anyone else? Sure doctors should be well trained. I scored well on my written tests, but my cases were rejected because my Chevron bunionectomy had “no fixation.” Apparently, one cannot see absorbable pins on x-ray. I guess nobody told me that it did not qualify as the standard of care.
Silly me. Of course, there is no challenge of such discrepancy. “Pay your bill next year and maybe you'll get through then.” But this is not about me. It doesn't have to be. It is very apparent that the stories are all the same; “Bad.” As for limiting my right to practice, forget about hospital privileges. I cannot even get onto insurances here without having the ABFAS Board Certification. Surely, we must have the best surgical track record there is in the U.S. We never have malpractice problems now that we're all Board Certified. At least our patients get the confidence of warm fuzzies they deserve. The system needs to stop trying to re-invent something that already has good models in the medical world to follow.
Paul Clint Jones, DPM, Portland, OR
From: Jack A. Reingold, DPM
I disagree that decreasing undergraduate education would somehow increase the applicant pools at podiatry schools. Even if this was correct, it would be a bad idea for other reasons. In California, we have been working on the idea of “parity” between DPMs and MDs. In other words, we take a separate pathway to achieve the same goal, a competent physician. After many years of having an independent board take a look at the curriculum of our schools and our residencies, we are almost there!
The presidents of the California Medical Association and Osteopathic Medical Association have, on several occasions, addressed our state delegates at our annual meeting and have told us that they consider us to be...
Editor's note: Dr. Reingold's extended-length can be read here.