Dr. Barron Nason has not been board-certified in emergency medicine since 2008, his spokesman confirmed Friday, despite at least one recent television commercial claiming that he was.
"In 2008 he elected not to renew his board certification since he was no longer seeing patients in a hospital setting," spokesman Kent Bosworth said in a prepared statement.
Instead, Nason completed 371 hours of continuing medical education (CME) through Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Bosworth said. He has not earned any credit since May 2013.
"While CME is a good thing, it's not board certification," a spokeswoman for the American Board of Medical Specialties said. "They are not the same thing at all."
The last television commercial claiming all Nason Medical Center physicians were "board certified in emergency medicine" was pulled from the air in May. Bosworth acknowledged that the commercial was incorrect because Nason was not board certified in emergency medicine at the time.
Another commercial and the company's website still boast that Nason Medical Center physicians are board-certified but do not specify that they are board-certified in emergency medicine. The ads violate a policy established by the S.C. Board of Medical Examiners, which mandates "if advertising as board-certified, a physician must specify which ... board(s) they are certified by."
"In general, if a licensee isn't board certified through ABMS (American Board of Medical Specialties) or another organization recognized by the S.C. Board of Medical Examiners, the licensee cannot hold himself/herself out to be certified," said Lesia Kudelka, a spokeswoman for the S.C. Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
Nason maintains a license in good standing to practice medicine in South Carolina - a requirement for all practicing doctors.
Board certification is not mandatory. Even so, experts consider it an indication of quality. Physicians who are board certified in a speciality, such as internal medicine or dermatology, must pay fees to an accrediting board - usually the American Board of Medical Specialties - and take routine exams. These tests are commonly called "boards."
Most hospitals require their doctors to maintain board certification.
Nason did not immediately respond to messages left Friday.
The urgent care company is currently under federal investigation. Details about the case have not been made public, although Nason confirmed that all five Lowcountry centers were ordered to discontinue the use of CT scans and ultrasounds earlier this year.
In a separate case, the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control mandated that Nason Medical Centers remove the word "emergency" from their buildings in May because the signs confused patients who needed immediate treatment at a hospital.
Reach Lauren Sausser at 937-5598.