Maintenance of certification (MOC) is on the minds of most doctors and the majority of them oppose it. This is a program whereby doctors are enforced to comply with certain “educational” mandates in order 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 Society (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 than 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 rather esoteric facts that often do not correlate to the true medical care of patients. Doctors would rather learn what they need to know to give patients the best care rather than waste time on book learning facts that just consume time but do not help their patients at all.
There are many continuing medical programs that do offer this learning. However, keeping up with the modules of the MOC often is a time drain that prevents many of us from pursuing activities that supply us with concrete 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.
I would say that everyone is on agreement that doctors need continual education in order to practice the best medicine. However, I would further propose that most of us would agree that this study should be aimed at improving our medical skills and knowledge in a way that patients benefit. The medical boards, however, don’t agree. They will not say this directly but the fact that they persist in “forcing” us to continue the pursuit of senseless exercises with no proven benefits speaks in and of itself. To put it bluntly, they just don’t care.
Now, why does the American Boards of Medical Specialties (ABMS) continue this nonsense?: because it is profitable for them and because they can. In order 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-certifed. And in order to stay board-certified we must complete the MOC requirements and everything the leaders of these bards decide we must do.
Many people may wonder why doctors of all people 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 truly has changed.
The leaders continue to ignore us and our medical societies. They reap in 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 actually cares about the health of patients and not their wallets. If you have not already joined the opposition, the year is now.
© 2017, Linda Girgis MD. All rights reserved.