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Board Certification Helping to Advance Diplomate Careers and the Optometric Profession

Hospital board traffic sign over blue sky background

Hospital board traffic sign over blue sky background

Does having the board certification credential make you a better optometrist? Not necessarily. Does having the board certification credential open opportunities to optometrists that may not otherwise be available? Absolutely.

Take for instance Dr. Norman Einhorn. Dr. Einhorn is the director of The Center for Visual Rehabilitation in Belmar, New Jersey and has consulting privileges at four area hospitals. Specializing in the evaluation and treatment of neuro-visual deficits, he typically provides 15-20 consults per week among the four facilities. One facility, Shore Rehabilitation Hospital in Brick, New Jersey, now requires all doctors with hospital privileges to be board certified.

Shore Rehabilitation Hospital, a 40-bed facility, is a joint partnership between Meridian Health and JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute. Their mission is to provide care that restores and returns physically disabled adults to a quality of life through a multi-disciplinary team of providers.

Dr. Einhorn is the only optometrist to be granted privileges at Shore Rehabilitation Hospital and must maintain his board certification to continue providing consultations. And while board certification is not a requirement at the other three hospitals where he enjoys privileges, he believes that without it, credentialing boards may be more likely to deny privileges to optometrists.

That sentiment is echoed by Dr. Nathan Scott. Dr. Scott is a primary care optometrist in private practice in Chelan, Washington, with consulting privileges at Lake Chelan Community Hospital. Although board certification was not a requirement when he was granted privileges in 2005, the landscape for credentialing hospital appointments has changed. “Several years ago, the hospital board began having discussions about only credentialing board certified doctors,” said Dr. Scott. “I was able to provide my American Board of Optometry Board Certification and maintaining privileges was no longer an issue for me.”

Increasingly, hospitals and healthcare systems across the country are requiring board certification for all doctors, regardless of specialty area. Having a board certification credential in optometry that is equal to that of board certification in medicine, raises the likelihood that privileges will be granted to optometrists.

In a recent article that appeared in the April/May 2018 edition of AOA Focus, The American Optometric Association highlighted why doctors of optometry should seek hospital privileges. Dr. Kerry Beebe, a retired ABO Diplomate featured in the article, believes that board certification may eventually become necessary for optometrists applying for hospital privileges. “I have had privileges at three hospitals, served on one hospital board and served on a credentialing committee,” said Dr. Beebe. “One thing that is constant is the question of board certification on the application. Being able to check that box makes all the difference. Not being board certified gives the hospital credentialing committee an easy out to deny an optometrist’s application.”

If you have a story to share about how board certification has helped in your career, please contact our office at 314.983.4226 or info@abopt.org.