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Infuriated by MOC Rules, Physicians Unleash on Certification Boards

Cheryl Clark, for HealthLeaders Media, June 26, 2014

Revised maintenance of certification rules are drawing howls of protest from doctors who are angry about "extortive" costs and other burdens.

Rarely does one hear raging, frantic invective from doctors at the level some are now spewing about new maintenance of certification (MOC) programs required for physicians who seek board certification.

The new MOC rules, customized by 24 specialty boards, require doctors to continuously learn rather than to cram for and take an exam every 10 years. Some of these boards, like the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), require MOC point accruals for two-year or five year cycles.

Another sore spot for physicians: For the first time, the public can see which doctors meet or don't meet the requirements. The new rules are, as Illinois internist Westby Fisher, MD, said in an interview, "infuriating."

I'm not seeing the justification for all this angst. In just the last week, I've heard or read doctors' screeds on the MOC requirements. They've been described as "exorbitantly expensive," "extortive," and so on.

One Pittsburgh anesthesiologist, Paul Kempen, MD, likens components of MOC practice improvement module requirements to the fascism of "Nazi Germany," and to the "Tuskegee syphilis experiments."


In one of his many blog postings about MOC Fisher implies that the boards setting the MOC rules are controlled by "cockroaches."

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11 comments on "Infuriated by MOC Rules, Physicians Unleash on Certification Boards"

Samuel Hunter, MD, PhD (7/3/2014 at 10:06 AM)
Wow, what a one sided article. Sounds like the mouthpiece of ABIM is speaking. I thought this was a journalistic enterprise. The credibility of this organization is doubtful and no physician I know would agree with the perspective here.

Jason Kim (7/2/2014 at 4:22 PM)
You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about, and don't have the time to issue rebuttals to every point. But get one thing straight. You are totally wrong about #2: surveys of patients, even if it is about the quality of theiir care, IS HUMAN SUBJECT RESEARCH. Ask any institutional review board at any medical center if you don't believe me.

ju md (7/1/2014 at 1:51 PM)
MOC is another form of extortion of physicians. My patients don't come to me because I am board certified. They volunterily seek my services because they know that I care about their health and that I am medically competent to keep them healthy year after year. I am able to do that through continuing medical education that I feel is relevant to my population. Physicians need to just say no to these bean counters, bureacrats, and regulators who are killing private practice of medicine and promoting the corporatization of medicine for their own profits under the guise of quality. They don't know what real quality is because they are clueless as to what we deal with. Look at PQRS,NCQA, and CQM debacle. This is how they measure quality? It is the most idiotic process I have ever seen in all my years of practice. Where are our medical soceities such as the AMA on this issue? It is really sad that our own are cannibalizing us in the name of quality. I am refusing this charade and more physicians should do the same.