SYS-CON MEDIA Authors: Kevin Benedict, Rich Waidmann, Pat Romanski, Michael Jannery, Javier Paniza

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Osteopathic Medical Leadership Convenes Historic Summit in Response to changes, challenges in America's healthcare

PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Leaders of the osteopathic medical profession gathered in historic Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 8, 2012 for the first United States Osteopathic Medical Regulatory Summit, hosted by the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners (NBOME). The Summit united key players from the osteopathic medical regulation community – those entrusted with osteopathic physician assessment, undergraduate medical education, graduate medical education, licensure and certification – to discuss issues critical to delivery of high quality health care and the osteopathic medical profession.

Serving as impetus for the gathering were a number of significant developments, including recent proposed changes to osteopathic graduate medical training and accreditation, future requirements for osteopathic continuous certification, and most important, the future health care needs of the American public resulting from full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"This is an era of unprecedented change to many aspects of health care delivery as well as medical education and training," explained Janice A. Knebl, DO, MBA, NBOME Board Chair. "Motivated by this and the ever-increasing need for qualified physicians – particularly in primary care and under-served areas across the country – we gathered to discuss how to respond as a profession, and what our respective organizations will do to advance quality osteopathic patient care in the context of this changing environment."

"At a time when a rapidly aging population and expanded access to health care coverage are having a significant impact on the demand for physicians, the osteopathic medical profession remains committed to delivering health care to those who need it the most," said Ray E. Stowers, DO, President of the American Osteopathic Association. "With an emphasis on prevention and patient-centered care, osteopathic medical graduates are well equipped to deliver primary care in communities that have few options for medical services. In fact, more than 60 percent of osteopathic physicians currently practice family medicine, internal medicine, pediatrics or obstetrics and gynecology, while new osteopathic medical schools are offering instruction in some of the most rural and medically underserved regions of the country, ranging from Harlem to Appalachia to the Pacific Northwest."

For more information about the osteopathic profession's response to physician shortages: http://mededsummit.net/Blue_Ribbon_Commission_410R.html

Representatives of the osteopathic profession in attendance at the Summit included:
American Osteopathic Association (AOA): Ray E. Stowers, DO, President; John B. Crosby, JD, Executive Director; Linda L. Mascheri, Director of the Department of State, Affiliate, and International Affairs; Boyd R. Buser, DO, AOA Trustee
AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS): Stephen M. Scheinthal, DO, Chair; Ronald E. Ayres, DO, Past Chair
American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine (AACOM): Stephen Shannon, DO, MPH, President; Lori Kemper, DO, Board of Deans member
American Association of Osteopathic Examiners (AAOE): Dana Shaffer, DO, President; Geraldine O'Shea, DO, Vice-President; James Andriole, DO, Past-President
Note: The AAOE represents the osteopathic physician members of the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), whose member organizations grant licenses for doctors of osteopathic medicine at the state level.
AOA Commission on Osteopathic College Accreditation (COCA): Thomas A. Cavalieri, DO, Chair; Sandra Featherman, PhD, Vice Chair; Konrad Miskowicz-Retz PhD, CAE, Secretary
Association of Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators (AODME): Richard LaBaere, II, DO, MPH, President; Michael Finley, DO, Board Member; Gary L. Slick, DO, Board Member

They joined the 23 members of the NBOME Board of Directors, led by Dr. Knebl and Vice Chair, Wayne Carlsen, DO, and other members of the NBOME Executive staff. 

A poll of participants during the Summit revealed widespread consensus on the following statement: "Because of the substantial contributions of osteopathic medicine to health care and the entire house of medicine in America over the last 138 years, a distinctive osteopathic medical profession is valuable to the health of the American public."

Indeed, a review of the mission statements of all participating organizations showed the common threads of protecting the public through the distinctive practice of osteopathic medicine.

During the Summit, each leader was asked to consider what role their organization can play to help advance high quality osteopathic patient care in the United States. John R. Gimpel, DO, MEd, President and Chief Executive Officer, responded on behalf of the NBOME:

"At the NBOME, we believe strongly that patients are best served by seeking care from osteopathic physicians who have qualified by virtue of passing graduation requirements and competency assessments designed for the practice of osteopathic medicine and validated for that distinct purpose," Dr. Gimpel explained. "That is why the NBOME is committed to providing the highest quality evaluation tools to assess osteopathic medical students, residents and physicians." 

Leaders from the participating organizations likewise agreed with the need for osteopathically distinctive and valid assessment tools in qualifying osteopathic physicians along the education, training and practice continuum.

About the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners
The NBOME's mission is to protect the public by providing the means to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine and related health care professions. The NBOME developed and is the sole administrator of the Comprehensive Osteopathic Medical Licensure Examination of the United States (COMLEX-USA), the testing pathway to licensure for osteopathic physicians in the United States. In addition, the NBOME partners with many osteopathic specialty colleges in the development and administration of various competency assessments, including those for resident in-service assessment and board certification, as well as numerous other competency assessment tools that are designed for the distinctive practice of osteopathic medicine.
For more information about the NBOME, its mission and its assessment tools for the osteopathic medical profession, go to www.nbome.org.

About The American Osteopathic Association
The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) proudly represents its professional family of more than 100,000 osteopathic physicians (DOs) and osteopathic medical students; promotes public health; encourages scientific research; serves as the primary certifying body for DOs; is the accrediting agency for osteopathic medical schools; and has federal authority to accredit hospitals and other health care facilities. More information on DOs/osteopathic medicine can be found at www.osteopathic.org.

SOURCE National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners

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