The ABPN enforces its rule that a physician with a restricted license is not eligible to become or remain certified. Even a narrow restriction of the medical license disqualifies a physician from certification. ABMS and most other certifying boards have a similar rule, i.e. certification is automatically revoked if the physician’s license becomes restricted.
Although ABPN’s rule and its automatic decertification process is not new, it is now more likely to learn that physicians’ licenses have been restricted as this information is easy to access, making it possible to know which diplomats are no longer eligible for certification. While there is no appeal from this decision, a physician can reapply for certification when the license is fully reinstated. Also, a diplomate is given 30 days from the notice of decertification to present any additional information he wishes that ABPN to consider.
The APA is working with ABPN staff and legal counsel to understand the process ABPN employs and the scope of infractions that it considers disqualifying because the ABPN’s definition of “restricted license” is very broad and goes beyond the obvious restrictions on the ability to provide services. For these less obvious restrictions, the process of deciding whether the facts support decertification is not transparent.
The hope is that ABPN will publicly make its rule and process clear and transparent. This will allow physicians considering settlement with the disciplinary committees to understand the ramifications of such decisions with the ABPN. Meanwhile, if any member finds themselves being decertified when their license to practice medicine has not been restricted in the ordinary sense, the APA will assist the member through the ABPN process.