How does a doctor defend maintenance of certification (MOC) when most of his colleagues dislike the program with a burning passion? Physicians Practice spoke to two doctors who count themselves as MOC supporters to get an idea of what they appreciate about the program.
Eric Green, MD
Eric Green, MD, general internist and director of the internal medicine residency program at Mercy Catholic Medical Center in Philadelphia, likens MOC to older drivers. "A number of states now require older drivers to have shorter interval licenses and to have some sort of testing to ensure they are safe to drive. Older drivers resent that. They say it's burdensome and intrusive and they're right. But it was a decision by those states that was done for the common good," he says.
In the same way, Green points out that having a checkpoint for physicians to ensure they are keeping up with changing standards benefits the greater public. "If there are physicians who are not keeping up, and I've seen evidence there are…we need to accept this minor burden as a tax on our time to help the public," he adds. When Green says, "minor," he says the direct cost isn't that much for a profession that is in the top 5 percent of income-earners in the U.S.
On other more indirect costs, such as having to close a practice to study, he defends the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM) efforts to reduce the burden. Two examples of this, he cites, are when ABIM removed the quality and practice improvement parts from the program as well when it began to accept continuing medical education (CME) modules from other organizations as credit for MOC. Another effort to reduce burden, he says, was ABIM offering lower stakes, two-year online assessment options, rather than its more traditional 10-year assessment.
"My concern is if our boards don't do this, we're going to be relying on Yelp! and things like that for people to get reviews of physicians…If there is going to be some kind of verification of who I am and what I do, I want it to come from something I rely on," Green says.