Physicians Are Talking: Maintenance of Certification; Healthcare CEO Salaries

Neil Chesanow


August 28, 2014

Do Recertification Demands Waste Doctors' Time and Money?

Recently, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) increased the requirements for activities physicians must participate in for maintenance of certification (MOC). Physicians who don't get with the program will be listed as 'not meeting MOC requirements.' The ABIM claims the reason for this, as this article points out, is to "ensure ongoing growth of physician knowledge, professionalism, procedural skills, and practice-based improvement, assuring quality of care."

That cut no ice for most of the nearly 600 physicians who offered comments. Taking recertification exams and taking part in the required educational activities is costly. Plus, doctors say there is time and money lost by being forced to see fewer patients while studying for the exam, which many doctors feel compelled to do to. On top of that, many doctors felt that the recertification exams aren't evidence-based, and there isn't any proof that they improve patient care. Continuing medical education (CME) courses are just as good, if not better, these doctors contend.

"Responsible physicians stay current in their fields anyway, because the driving force is doing what is best for your patients. Besides, passing a certification test does not ensure a 'safe doctor'; it only ensures a doctor who is good at passing tests."

"An entire generation of physicians was grandfathered into their ABIM certification. Yet the ABIM required the rest of us to participate in this ridiculous recertifying process. This is patently unfair."

"I have taken the MOC in rheumatology three times, and all I can say is it is the BEST CME.... One must start early, read the literature steadily, and go for the exam. It is a commitment to learning the most up-to-date and most valid information."

"If you can't pass an exam every 10 years, shouldn't be practicing."

"The MOC process has become an expensive, time-consuming burden for clinicians, with no evidence that it improves clinical competence or outcomes. For the folks running the boards, it's become a bureaucratic cottage industry that stresses process over product and grows like a malignancy."

"A huge waste of time. A money and power grab is all that it is. We don't care much about the imprimatur of the American Board of Surgery or any other board, but some hospitals are requiring it to remain credentialed, as are some payers. So it is just another addition to the cost of doing business that we are unable to pass on to our consumers (as would any other business), because our prices are fixed."


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