Maintenance of certification pushed me out of medicine
Editor’s note: The following was sent to Virginia Moyer, MD, vice president for maintenance of certification (MOC) and quality at the American Board of Pediatrics a year ago. While the author ultimately completed MOC, lack of movement on this issue played a large part in the author’s decision to stop practicing.
It is with a heavy heart and tears that I would like to let you know that I will be unable to continue practicing medicine due to an unfulfilled Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirement. I conscientiously object to the quality requirement as implemented by the board.
By my own choice, I have been unwilling to complete a hand washing module for physicians who don’t have a consistent practice. I work one to two clinical shifts a week; I research, lecture, review science and work to help children’s vaccine pain with the other time. I believe in constant personal vigilance to maintain quality care.
I have participated in quality projects in the hospital, I have developed lectures, book chapters, and created and validated a scale to assess pediatric nausea that is used in hospitals and clinical trials across the world. I have asked the board to consider my work and my nausea scale publications; they do not consider these efforts an indication of “quality.”
While many good people have not been silent about their dissatisfaction with MOC, most physicians are not in a position to quit practicing. Instead, they are complaining, feel angry and frustrated, and believe they are justified in cheating the system.
Further reading: Eliminate MOC's cumbersome process and physicians will get on board
I have spoken to many who did do the hand washing module for compliance, and to a person they acknowledged making up data. Putting ethical, overworked, extensively trained and honorable people in a position of having to be dishonest or shoddy to comply with a regulation is wrong. It erodes the value and purpose of board certification.