Do Recertification Demands Waste Doctors' Time and Money?

Batya Swift Yasgur, MA, LMSW


June 04, 2014

In This Article

"A Useless Waste of Precious Time"

The increasingly tough maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements are the latest emergency facing today's physicians, many of whom feel that they are hemorrhaging money and time for no valid reason.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) "has made unreasonable changes in MOC requiring more frequent participation and higher fees" and MOC activities are "complex, have questionable value, and detract from more worthwhile pursuits, including patient care and other educational activities, ie, CME," according to a recent petition initiated by Paul Teirstein, Chief of Cardiology and Director of Interventional Cardiology, Scripps Clinic, La Jolla, California. It calls upon ABIM to institute "a simple pathway consisting of a test every ten years." The petition has accumulated over 15,740 signatures since its launch on March 10, 2014.[1]

Even the 10-year exam has been challenged. Change Board Recertification, a national movement of physicians committed to reforming the board recertification process, conducted a survey of 3000 physicians in 2011 and found that 93.7% of respondents voted to abolish all MOC requirements, including the exam, converting all certifications to lifetime status.[2]

But proponents of the new requirements say they ensure ongoing growth of physician knowledge, professionalism, procedural skills, and practice-based improvement, assuring quality patient care -- and that they're much less costly and burdensome than they seem.

"MOC is quite manageable," says Lois Margaret Nora, MD, JD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

"There are many ways for physicians to integrate the process into their practice so the burden is minimized." Dr. Nora says that the benefits of MOC make the effort worthwhile, although many doctors disagree.

A large proportion of internists have chosen to engage in the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) newly revised MOC program by the May 1 deadline to be reported as "Meeting MOC Requirements." As of May 1, nearly 150,000 physicians had enrolled in ABIM's MOC program.


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