A few months back, we told you that leaders of the boards that run the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs created a commission — the “Vision Initiative” — to develop “a set of recommendations about the future of continuing board certification.” And they wanted to know what physicians think of MOC.
Apparently, not much.
The recently released findings of a national survey show that only 12 percent of the 34,616 physicians who answered the survey value the MOC program. Forty-six percent said they have mixed feelings, and 41 percent said they do not value it.
The concerns match what the Texas Medical Association and other physician advocacy groups have been telling lawmakers and the public. MOC, respondents say, costs too much (58 percent), is burdensome (52 percent), “does not accurately measure my ability as a clinician” (48 percent), and “does not help me improve my practice in a meaningful way” (43 percent).
More than 80 percent of the respondents said the Vision Initiative should consider using continuing medical education activities for ongoing certification. Just about half suggested “self-assessment questions delivered at regular intervals.”
Nearly all of the physicians who responded are currently board certified, and a large majority currently participate in one or more MOC programs. The Vision Initiative pointed out that because any U.S. physician could participate in the survey, the responses are “likely to reflect selection bias.” They added that the results “are consistent with previous feedback received by American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its member boards.”
About 1,400 nonphysician health care stakeholders and 400 members of the general public also participated in the survey. About 60 percent of the stakeholders and more than 80 percent of the general public said they believe board certified physicians provide higher-quality care than nonboard certified physicians. That question in the survey didn’t distinguish between initial certification and MOC.
In addition to the survey, the Vision Initiative commission has taken testimony from affected parties at its first two meetings. The commission plans to release a draft report in November and submit its final recommendations to ABMS in February 2019.
Texas physicians’ complaints about the cost, time, and value of the continuing certification process led TMA to win passage last year of a new state law protecting physicians from MOC abuse. The law, which took effect Jan. 1, prevents the Texas Medical Board from using MOC as a requirement for doctors to obtain or renew a medical license. In general, it also bars hospitals and health plans from requiring physicians to obtain MOC for credentialing or contracts, with some exceptions.