The buzz going around the medical community this week is Dr. Paul Teirstein’s article in today’s New England Journal of Medicine, titled “Boarded to Death — Why Maintenance of Certification Is Bad for Doctors and Patients,” in which he skewers the imposition of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirement put into place a year ago by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).
The concept of the MOC was to ensure that physicians who had been certified in their specialty kept current with medical practice and the current guidelines. It’s not that concept that Dr. Teirstein objects to, but its heavy-handed implementation by, as he puts it, “people not directly involved in patient care who have lost contact with the realities of day-to-day clinical practice.” Ouch!
And Dr. Teirstein is not alone in his objections. An online petition he created has garnered almost 20,000 signatures. It asks the ABIM to recall the changes in MOC and institute a simple pathway consisting of a recertification test every ten years; a corollary petition, pledging non-compliance (read “boycott”) has over 6,000 signers – a more difficult pledge since many physicians are employed by hospital systems that require the ABIM MOC. And this certification is a monopoly, but more on that later…. Continue reading