As a longtime osteopathic physician, faculty member and now the 120th president of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Boyd Buser, D.O.’81, FACOFP dist., had much to share with DMU students when he visited campus on Sept. 28. Perhaps his most important message was this: “There’s never been a better time to be in our profession.”
Buser gave this assurance at a time when graduate medical education is transitioning to a single accreditation system. It will allow graduates of both osteopathic and allopathic medical schools to complete their residency and fellowship education in programs accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). In the past, programs could be accredited by the AOA, ACGME or dually accredited. The single system, expected to be completed by July 1, 2020.
While some osteopathic physicians have expressed concerns the single system will reduce osteopathic graduate medical education (OGME) positions, causing difficulties for osteopathic medical students, Buser said the new system “is intentionally designed to preserve osteopathic identity, tradition and history,” including osteopathic principles and practice. One-half of AOA accredited programs already are engaged in the transition, which is entering the second year of a five-year process. Further, longstanding ACGME programs have been applying for and achieving osteopathic recognition, representing hundreds of potential OGME training slots.
“You want to train in ACGME programs that have an osteopathic focus, and it’s our responsibility [by the AOA] to make sure you have those opportunities,” he told students. “The great news is that people want you. Every program that takes a D.O. for the first time wants more; I’ve seen that happen over and over. And D.O.s are the type of doctors that patients want.”
Named the 2016 Alumnus of the Year of DMU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine, Buser is vice president for health affairs and dean of the University of Pikeville’s Kentucky College of Osteopathic Medicine. He also is professor of osteopathic principles and practice and professor of family medicine. Dually certified in osteopathic manipulative medicine and family medicine and a Distinguished Fellow of the American College of Osteopathic Family Physicians, he is past chair of the National Board of Osteopathic Medical Examiners and is a founding member of the board of directors of the Osteopathic International Alliance.
Buser has a long history of advocacy in the payment policy arena as well. He is the first D.O. to be elected by the American Medical Association Board of Trustees to the Current Procedural Terminology Editorial Panel, which has final authority over the creation and revision of the codes used by physicians to report their services under health insurance.