American Board of Medical Specialties under Fire for Maintenance of Certification™ Program

Criticism of the American Board of Medical Specialties’ (ABMS) Maintenance of Certification™ (MOC) program has escalated over the past year. This has manifested in a number of ways. A national specialty society and at least two states have introduced resolutions that will be heard by the AMA; one national association has filed a lawsuit.

The AMA has already developed a number of policies on maintenance of certification and maintenance of licensure issues which address the cost, disruption to practice, and possible negative impact on access to care. In response to a joint resolution introduced by Camden, Mercer, and Passaic counties, the MSNJ Board of Trustees considered a resolution during its meeting on Sunday, June 2. After extensive testimony from the proponents of the resolution, county leaders, board members, and fellows, the Board took action on the resolution. It referred part of the proposed resolution back to the Policy and Strategy Panel and  adopted the following concepts:

  • Acknowledging that certification requirements within the Maintenance of Certification™ can be costly, time intensive, and result in significant disruptions to the availability of physicians for patient care;
  • Requiring MSNJ to communicate to the AMA and the ABMS examples of disproportional fees, onerous time requirements and unnecessary fragmentation of commonly recognized specialties; and
  • Opposing Maintenance of Certification™ in its present form, but reaffirming the need for ongoing CME to meet the AMA Physician’s Recognition Award and demonstrating the commitment to quality patient care.

The MSNJ delegation to the AMA will be guided by the discussion that took place during the Board meeting for its deliberations on the similar resolutions that will be considered at the AMA Annual Meeting in Chicago this month.

On a different tack, the American Association of Physicians & Surgeons filed a lawsuit in the New Jersey Federal District Court against the American Board of Medical Specialties alleging that its Maintenance of Certification™ program violates federal antitrust laws and that its statement about physician’s status in terms of maintenance of certification are misleading.

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About MSNJ

Founded in 1766, the Medical Society of New Jersey is the oldest professional society in the United States. The organization and its dues-paying members are dedicated to a healthy New Jersey, working to ensure the sanctity of the physician–patient relationship. In representing all medical disciplines, MSNJ advocates for the rights of patients and physicians alike, for the delivery of the highest quality medical care. This allows response to the patients’ individual, varied needs, in an ethical and compassionate environment, in order to create a healthy Garden State and healthy citizens.

One response to “American Board of Medical Specialties under Fire for Maintenance of Certification™ Program”

  1. Jim Amos says :

    I hit the “like” button before I realized that, of course, I really can’t like what’s happening to the profession I love.

    Jim Amos, MD
    The Practical Psychosomaticist

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