Changes Coming to MOC: Will Physicians Get Relief?

Leigh Page


June 05, 2018

In This Article

Will Physicians Like the New MOC?

Chastened by the outpouring of anger against the MOC, the ABMS and its boards have been taking many steps to assure physicians that they are now listening to them.

The board has formed a new panel, the Vision Initiative Commission, to come up with a plan to "ensure a continuing board certification program that remains relevant and meaningful to physicians and the patients they serve."[45]

The commission began meeting in February and will issue a report in February 2019. Critics have noted that commission membership is heavily slanted toward academic physicians, who are said to be more agreeable toward the MOC.[59]

Many doctors are dubious about the commission. Sibert, the California anesthesiologist, thinks it is "all window dressing," adding: "I don't expect any real changes to come out of it."

Turning to the current round of MOC changes, Hingle, the academic internist in Illinois, says that it's still too early to tell if they will make a difference. "This is still a work in progress," she says.

On the other hand, Smith, the academic neurologist, says that he has been impressed by the overtures of ABPN leaders. "They have been willing to listen to our feedback about the MOC program," he says.

He and other AAN leaders, "are in regular communication with them," and he thinks that the problems that neurologist had with Part IV are basically settled.

Monday says that the ABPN was slower than many other boards to respond to physicians' complaints, "but it finally did respond" by changing Part IV. "I'm happy they started listening," she says.

Considering her commitment to the Texas bill, Monday is surprisingly upbeat about the MOC. Two of the hospitals where Monday is on staff have dropped the MOC requirement, in accordance with the new law, and the others where she is on staff may follow, she says. But Monday has decided to continue participating in the ABPN's MOC process.

Why did she decide to stay in the MOC? "My children have asked me the same thing," she says. "The answer is I really love to educate myself. I love to learn."

Indeed, appealing to physicians' love for learning may be the boards' best hope to get physicians in line and make MOC work. Whatever happens, the boards are not ready to give up the fight.

Even when Baron, the ABIM head, apologized in 2015 for being too hard on physicians and then softened ABIM's requirements, he left no doubt that the MOC would continue. "It remains important for physicians to have publicly recognizable ways—designed by internists—to demonstrate their knowledge of medicine and its practice," he wrote.[60]


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