American Academy of Emergency Medicine

AAEM Responds to Misrepresentation

AAEM wrote a letter to the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners for claims that a New Jersey physician made about being "Board-certified" in the specialty of Emergency Medicine. The complete letter is reprinted below.

William Roeder, Executive Director
New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners
P.O. Box 183
Trenton, NJ 08625

RE: Physician Misrepresentation to the Public

Dear Mr. Roeder:

The American Academy of Emergency Medicine would like to call to your attention what we believe to be a misrepresentation of a physician's credentials to the citizens of New Jersey. Specifically, we refer to the enclosed advertisement in the Press Journal where Pascack Valley Hospital presents Dr. Phillip LaStella as "Board-certified" in the specialty of Emergency Medicine. Dr. LaStella is not certified in Emergency Medicine by the American Board of Emergency Medicine, the recognized ABMS body for Emergency Medicine, nor is he certified by the American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine, the AOA equivalent board. Rather, Dr. LaStella is "certified" in Emergency Medicine by BCEM (Board Certification in Emergency Medicine) a membership organization which is affiliated with the American Association of Physician Specialists, headquartered in Atlanta, GA.

As you know, the public places a certain degree of trust in the status of "Board Certification" in a medical specialty. The intent of the included advertisement is to play on that trust and to encourage the public to seek emergency medical care at Pascack Valley Hospital. You are likely familiar with the California Court of Appeals ruling related to the matter of the American Academy of Pain Management v. Joseph whereby it was affirmed that physicians who are not certified by the ABMS or another board approved by the Medical Board of California are prohibited from advertising themselves as "board-certified." We believe the citizens of New Jersey are entitled to similar guidelines.

Thank you for your attention to this important matter. We would appreciate a response to this inquiry.


robert mcnamara

Robert M. McNamara, MD, FAAEM