Information for Health Facilities

The Board of Podiatric Medicine (BPM) - BPM is the unit of the Medical Board of California (MBC) that licenses Doctors of Podiatric Medicine (DPMs) under the State Medical Practice Act. There are approximately 1,900 DPMs practicing in California. The Medical Board takes complaints and conducts investigations for DPM cases just as it does for MDs.

Accreditation - The Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) is recognized by the U.S. Department of Education for accrediting schools of podiatric medicine. CPME also approves residency programs and CME providers, and recognizes specialty boards. Contact: CPME, 9312 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, MD 20814.    (301) 571-9200.

Licensure Requirements - Current State law requires: (1) graduation from a BPM-approved podiatric medical school, (2) passing the national boards Parts I, II and III administered by the Chauncey Group International, a subsidiary of the Educational Testing Service, for the National Board of Podiatric Medical Examiners, and (3) completion of at least two years of BPM-approved graduate medical education.

Resident's License - Postgraduate residents must possess a "Resident's License" from BPM. This license limits the resident to participation in a specified training program during a specified one-year period. This training license authorizes the resident to participate fully in rotations as required or approved by CPME and the hospital. Medical residents must always be supervised [§70705, Department of Health Services regulations]. §2483 of the State Medical Practice Act, CPME, and BPM require applicants to be trained comprehensively in medicine. §§ 2475-2476 require that podiatric students and residents be supervised by an MD or DO when the work takes them beyond the scope of their eventual medical specialty.

Scope of Practice - DPMs diagnose and treat medical conditions of the foot, ankle and related structures (including the tendons that insert into the foot and the nonsurgical treatment of the muscles and tendons of the leg). In addition to performing foot and ankle surgeries, DPMs are licensed to assist MDs and DOs in any surgery--podiatric or non-podiatric.

DPMs, many of whom develop expertise in the care and preservation of the diabetic foot, may perform partial amputations of the foot as far as proximal with the Chopart's joint. They order and administer anesthesia and sedatives, as indicated. Administration of general anesthesia, however, may only be performed by an anesthesiologist or certified registered nurse anesthetist (CRNA).

Note: Some DPMs licensed prior to 1984 have not met BPM's licensure requirements for ankle surgery, amputation, and surgical assistance. They may assist other DPM surgeons in any podiatric procedure and may assist MDs/DOs as non-licensed operating room technicians do in non-podiatric surgeries. Facilities may verify license status online by clicking on the Quick Hit for License Verification. Most DPMs are in fact "ankle licensed." This will be indicated by "License or Registration Class: ANK", and authorizes the full DPM medical scope.

Section 2472 also specifies the various peer-reviewed facilities in which ankle surgery may be performed. It may be viewed in its entirety from BPM's website under Laws & Regulations. BPM interprets surgical treatment of the ankle to include those parts of the tibia, fibula, their malleoli and related structures as indicated by the procedures

Any procedure and modality is within the DPM scope when utilized to diagnose and treat podiatric conditions.  With new regulations finalized by the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) [regulations], there are no longer any restrictions on DPMs performing full-body history and physical (H&P) examinations in any setting for any patient, as they have been trained to do for over two decades.

Podiatric Medical Schools - CPME requires a four-year didactic and clinical curriculum similar to that of medical schools, but with an emphasis on the lower extremity. BPM has approved nine CPME-accredited schools, including the California School of Podiatric Medicine (CSPM) located at Samuel Merritt University in Oakland and St. Mary's Medical Center Campus in San Francisco. Administrative contact: 370 Hawthorne Avenue, Oakland, CA 94609. (510) 869-8727.

Graduate Medical Education - CPME approves two categories: Podiatric Medicine and Surgery–24 (PM&S-24) and Podiatric Medicine and Surgery–36 (PM&S-36). Residencies in California must also be approved by BPM. Board regulations require that all hospitals sponsoring programs designate a director of medical education, provide emergency medical training through emergency room rotations, measure and evaluate the progress of participants and program effectiveness, and meet the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education's (ACGME) institutional requirements applicable to all medical residencies, in addition to CPME standards.

Specialty Certification – Three specialty certifying boards are currently approved under California law: The American Board of Podiatric Surgery, the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Medicine, and the American Board of Multiple Specialties in Podiatry. Internet links are provided on BPM's website. For further information about ABPS, contact: ABPS, 1601 Dolores Street, San Francisco, CA 94110-4906 (415) 826-3200, For ABPO: 22910 Crenshaw Blvd., #B, Torrance, CA 90505 (310) 891-0100. And for ABMSP: 1350 Broadway, Suite 1705, New York, NY, 10018 (888) 852-1442.

Preferred Practice Guidelines - ACFAS also publishes guidelines for foot and ankle procedures. The BPM looks to the Preferred Practice Guidelines as an important part of the professional literature.

Medical Ethics - The California Podiatric Medical Association (CPMA) is the state affiliate of the American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA). CPMA, 2430 K Street, Suite 200, Sacramento, CA 95816, (916) 448-0248. The AMA Code of Medical Ethics and the APMA Code of Ethics are both applicable to podiatric medicine.

Continuing Competence/License Renewal - At each two-year renewal, DPMs must certify compliance with at least one of several continuing competence indicators as well as 50 hours of CME. The Medical Board no longer requires CPR certificates for renewal of MD or DPM licenses. DPM biennial renewal fees are $900, which finances enhanced licensing services, model programs such as Continuing Competence (BPM is the first doctor-licensing board in the country to implement this long-advocated reform), and rigorous, uncompromised consumer protection law enforcement.

BPM Information & Enforcement Action

The State Office of Administrative Law (OAL) upheld the legality of BPM's Regulations to disclose cases referred to the Attorney General prior to the filing of an Accusation. For a prompt alert to these enforcement actions, patients and facilities may inspect:

Revised July 2014


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