The survey of 200 hospitals found that almost 80 percent do not require board certification of pediatricians at the time of initial granting of hospital privileges, but most do require such credentials "at some point in the pediatrician's tenure," researchers at the University of Michigan reported Tuesday.
However, "many of these hospitals (42 percent) do not have a specific time limit in which certification must be achieved. Thus, it is possible that the stated requirement for board certification is never actually enforced," the researchers said.
Results of the poll appear in the February 22 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
"It is unknown how or if hospitals use board certification as a proxy measure of professional competence in their privileging decisions," the researchers said.
The study authors conducted a telephone survey between Jan. 1 and June 30, 2005 of 200 hospitals categorized by teaching status, children's versus general facilities, rural versus urban and whether they were free-standing or part of a larger hospital system.
The survey showed that 124 hospitals, or 78 percent, did not require general pediatricians to be board certified at the time of initial privileging, and that 111 hospitals, 70 percent, did require pediatricians to be board certified at some point during their tenure.
Of the 124 hospitals that did not require board certification, 60, or 48 percent, did report having some time frame in which certification must be achieved, usually four to six years.
Also, 43 percent of 113 hospitals required pediatric subspecialists to achieve subspecialty certification within a specific time frame.