Maintenance of certification (MOC) is on the minds of most doctors, and the majority of them oppose it. This is a program where doctors are enforced to comply with certain “educational” mandates to stay compliant with their board certification requirements. The largest number of doctors did not start off following this program but rather were shackled onto it later in their careers.
Being one of the earliest voices speaking out against this corrupt learning system for physicians, it is now quite reassuring to see that twenty state medical societies have now issued resolutions against MOC. In fact, last summer, the American Medical Association (AMA) came out with a position statement against MOC. And even then, the leaders of the specialty medical boards demanding the MOC program continue did not relinquish their move for control over the minds — and finances — of doctors.
People who don’t understand MOC may be appalled that doctors are fighting against continuing education. But nothing can be further from the truth. Doctors are the first who seek out educational opportunities and realize in the course of their daily practice of medicine how fast innovation changes and the necessity to keep pace. No, doctors are not denying the need for lifelong learning but rather fighting for the right to be educated as to what is relevant to the CLINICAL practice of medicine and what will improve patient outcomes. MOC does not address real-world medicine but obscure facts that often do not correlate to the actual medical care of patients. Doctors would rather learn what they need to know to give patients the best care rather than waste time learning facts that just consume time but do not help their patients at all.
There are many continuing medical programs that offer this learning. However, keeping up with the modules of the MOC is a time drain sometimes that prevents many of us from pursuing activities that supply us with solid knowledge that we can utilize to give our patients with better health. The modules of MOC are time-consuming and give little benefit. There is no evidence that completing these useless activities translates into any benefit for patients. And the leaders of the medical boards have failed to provide this evidence despite being asked for it on a multitude of occasions.
Now, why does the American Boards of Medical Specialties (ABMS) continue this nonsense? Because it is profitable for them and they can. For us to be able to see patients in the hospital or to be able to accept patients’ insurance plans, most often we need to be board certified. And to stay board certified, we must complete the MOC requirements and everything the leaders of these boards decide we must do.
Many people may wonder why doctors are complaining about the expense of MOC. Because, over the course of our careers, we will spend tens of thousands of dollars to comply with the board mandates. And, this money is wasted on nonsense in our opinion. Now, give us real educational events, and we will gladly pay the fees. But, no one likes throwing money away.
Doctors have been raising our voices to these leaders these past several years about our concerns. Either the leaders are deaf, or they just don’t want to listen to us. They issued statements that they are listening and will make the modules more relevant. But, this is merely lip service; little actually has changed.
The leaders continue to ignore us and our medical societies. They reap huge profits off the backs of hard-working doctors by deceit and greed. But the crowd of opposition is snowballing. Soon, they will no longer be able to ignore us. Their corrupt financials have been leaking out, and the rest will come to light. They will no longer be able to hide behind their false assertions. It is 2017 and time for new leadership, one that cares about the health of patients and not their wallets. If you have not already joined the opposition, the year is now.
Linda Girgis is a family physician who blogs at Dr. Linda.
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