Physician certification and the continuing education required to maintain certification contribute to the creation of an environment of professionalism and a culture of retention—a critical issue for hospices today. Certification is also a vehicle for hospices to differentiate themselves from competitors and demonstrate to consumers that they have attracted the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals.
In addition, because of the current shortage of hospice and palliative medicine specialists:
hospice administrators will increasingly need to be assured that their pool of candidates includes well trained, dedicated medical directors and physicians who provide hospice care
there is a need for physicians who have proven their commitment in not only the clinical foundation of hospice and palliative medicine but also the administrative, regulatory, and leadership functions unique to the hospice medical director’s role
heightened regulatory attention requires that hospices invest in ongoing training and education for their medical staff to ensure the responsible and appropriate certification and recertification of their patient populations.
Hospice administrators and CEOs should invest in physician certification to:
minimize risk of compliance issues, including fraud and abuse
build a strong team, committed to quality standards of care
improve your competitive advantage and credibility in the marketplace
promote HMD-CEO partnerships to reduce administrative burden.
Why is Certification of Your HMDs Important?
Professional certification of a specialized skill set affirms a knowledge and experience base for hospice practitioners. It signifies to the public that the professional is committed to career development and dedicated to patient and family care, the functioning of the interdisciplinary team, the sustainability and health of the hospice, and the credibility and profile of the field at large. All of these attributes are valuable for a hospice. The professional standards inherent to a certification process also assure regulators and consumers of consistency across the spectrum of practitioners working in the field.
Frequently Asked Questions by CEOs
If you have a question about the HMDCB or hospice care, start here. You’ll find answers to the most commonly asked questions relating to our mission. If you don’t see an answer to your question here, please
What is the mission of HMDCB? The mission of HMDCB is to relieve suffering and improve quality of life by promoting the excellence and professional competence of hospice medical directors.
Why should hospice administrators and CEOs invest in physician certification? Physician certification and the continuing education required to maintain certification contribute to the creation of an environment of professionalism and a culture of retention — a critical issue given the physician shortage. Certification is also a vehicle for hospices to differentiate themselves from competitors and demonstrate to consumers that they have attracted the most skilled and experienced healthcare professionals.
Who is involved in the development of the program? Supported by both the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, the HMDCB Board of Directors comprises hospice medical directors who have demonstrated leadership and recognition within the field of hospice and palliative medicine. The certification is also recognized by CHAP and The Joint Commission.
Who is eligible? The certification is intended for licensed physicians who provide hospice care and currently serve or intend to serve as a hospice medical directors. Visit our eligibility requirements page for details on all requirements.
Does the HMDCB certification meet health care systems' and accrediting bodies' requirements for board certification? The HMDCB Board of Directors is confident it has created a rigorous and structured assessment program that will continue to be recognized by health care organizations and accreditation bodies. Currently, both CHAP and The Joint Commission recognize the HMDC credential. Potential applicants should check with their specific health care system to determine whether the HMDCB certification meets its requirements.
What is the difference between a certification and a certificate program? The primary difference is purpose and core design. The purpose of certification is to access current knowledge and skills and identify those who meet the minimum criteria established. The purpose of a certificate program is to educate or train individuals to achieve specified learning outcomes and identify those who have achieved them. HMDCB has developed a certification program.
Will there be an examination? Yes. After thoughtful consideration of multiple options for assessment, an examination was determined to be the most acceptable and defensible means of establishing an objective measure of competence. Validated research methods exist to aid in the development and ongoing refinement of certification examinations. The examination is offered annually.
What are the registration fees? The 2017 certification examination cost is $1100 and must accompany the application. A late fee will be assessed for applications received after the early application deadline. The examination fee covers application review, administrative costs and testing company fees.
Will there be a Maintenance of Certification program? Yes. All physicians who become certified must participate in the maintenance phase, the most important part of any quality board certification program. Board certification is valid for 6 years, assuming that certificants remain current in the HMDCB Maintenance of Certification program.
Where and how often will the examination be given? Candidates will take the computer-based examination at an authorized PSI/AMP Candidate Servirces testing center across the United States during a 2-week examination window.
How do I verify an HMDC? Request a verification letter by emailing
with the physician's first and last name, their certification number, and mailing address if available.
"The HMDCB certification program is an important avenue to establishing one's expertise in the administrative and clinical skillset demanded of a hospice medical director. It helps to affirm the importance of physicians providing end-of-life care within the larger palliative and medical continuum of care."
Suzanne Karefa-Johnson, MD HMDC
Physician, Hospice of the Comforter, Altamonte Springs, FL