MOC: An examination of costs and impact to physicians
The controversy surrounding maintenance of certification triggered policy action from the AMA
It's considered onerous, expensive and its impact on patient outcomes is debatable. The controversy about making maintenance of certification (MOC) mandatory has triggered new policy action from the American Medical Association (AMA) calling to keep MOC voluntary and to investigate the feasibility of a study to examine the impact of MOC and osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) on physician recruitment and retirement.
The study should also probe the negative impacts of failing certification tests as they relate to health plan participation, access to hospital privileges, and a physician’s reputation in the community.
While June’s action reignites the debate about the need for such a rigorous re-certification program, the concept of continuous professional development was adopted more than 14 years ago by the 24 boards comprising the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) to focus on six core competencies: medical knowledge, patient care, practice-based learning, systems-based practice, professionalism, interpersonal and communications skills.
From these roots, a multi-million dollar continuing education infrastructure was born to help physicians keep pace with the accelerating growth of medical knowledge. While proponents of the MOC process believe it improves healthcare delivery, its critics want more proof that it is worth the high costs and time away from their families and practices, and truly benefits patients. The issues surrounding MOC are so contentious that they have sparked a lawsuit and an online petition with 17,000 signatures.
In the latest round, AMA delegates sided against mandating MOC, and they want to explore the feasibility of conducting an impact study on MOC requirements as they relate to entry into the profession, retirements or recertification lapses, practice costs, outcomes and patient safety.