AANEM News Express

AANEM News Express

Why Not Lobby ABEM Certification Instead of Laboratory Accreditation

In response to the continued growth of fraud, abuse, and the number of unqualified providers performing EDX studies, the AANEM Board voted to move forward with an ambitious plan of working to establish mandatory standards for EDX medicine nationwide based upon AANEM’s EDX Laboratory Accreditation Program. The goal of this effort is to ensure patients receive only quality EDX care from qualified providers.
Some AANEM members have asked - why did AANEM choose to use the EDX Laboratory Accreditation Program instead of requiring ABEM certification (or other board certification) to perform EDX testing?  Isn’t requiring both redundant?
While it is certainly true that ABEM certification demonstrates that the physician is competent and trained to perform EDX studies, unfortunately, most private payers, and certainly government payers, are not willing to limit medical treatments/procedures to those with specific board certifications due to concerns of encroaching upon scope of practice issues. It is seen as a restraint of trade issue. 
Using board certification to define what types of testing can be performed is complicated by the fact that physicians with different board certifications often perform testing that could be seen as part of another group’s certification. For example, AANEM members would not want ultrasound to be limited to board certified radiologists. Another example of testing performed by physicians of different board certifications is spine injections. AANEM is not aware of any instances in which board certification is used by government entities or private payers to restrict the ability to perform a procedure in an area of medicine. 
Our discussions with representatives from other specialty societies who faced similar quality issues, including radiology (with mammography) and sleep medicine, revealed that they successfully used laboratory accreditation to raise the level of patient care when working with the government and private payers. These are the set of standards AANEM is working to mandate through CMS. 
The laboratory accreditation program, unlike board certifications, looks beyond physician training and qualifications. EDX laboratory accreditation also ensures that NCS technologists are adequately trained and supervised, certifies that only proper EDX equipment is used, confirms that appropriate safety protocols are in place, and reviews several other aspects of the delivery of EDX medicine. The laboratory accreditation program requires that individuals performing EDX studies undergo sufficient training (which is generally only included in neurology fellowships or PMR residencies), but does NOT require specific board certifications.
Regardless of whether or not a mandate is enacted, you should get your EDX lab accredited because it:
  • Demonstrates clinical excellence in EDX medicine
  • Proves a laboratory’s commitment to providing the highest quality health care and a safe environment for patients
  • Provides patients, referral sources, and payers with a credible measure to differentiate the laboratory’s quality of care
For more information on the EDX Accreditation Program, visit AANEM’s website: http://www.aanem.org/Practice/EDX-Laboratory-Accreditation.

If you have questions about the advocacy effort, you can email the policy department at policy@aanem.org.

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