There are 800,000 physicians in America and more than 65% believe the Maintenance of Certification process, known as MOC, has no clinical value for patients. For the first time in the history of our profession, physicians have a fighting chance to topple a Goliath-esque organization, the American Board of Medical Specialties.
MOC is a cash cow for the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 specialty boards, which administer the exams. According to its most recent tax filings, ABMS president Lois Margaret Nora made nearly $700,000 in compensation from the organization in 2016. Thirteen other executives made over $150,000 from the nonprofit in the same year. In total, ABMS spent over $10 million on compensation, more than half its annual revenues, which largely come from inflated testing fees.
While the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) argues MOC participation makes for better doctors, no credible proof supports this assertion; only initial board certification has been scientifically validated. Seven states already eliminated MOC compliance to maintain licensure, physician hospital employment, or insurance contracting, however this same freedom must be extended to the other 43.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) eliminated “lifetime” certification to shore up their financial outlook; a modification having little to do with quality and much to do with rate of return. Between 2003 and 2013, the ABMS member boards’ assets ballooned from $237 million to a staggering $635 million, an annual growth rate of 10.4%. MOC is outrageously lucrative. Almost 88% of their revenue came from certification fees.
Physicians must stand up and be counted. Our time is now. Practicing physicians can deliver valuable insight and novel perspective on how to enact change. We must give the power to make healthcare decisions back to the patient and their doctor, rather than to the insurance and pharmaceutical industries.
While swiping our credit cards to fund this atrocity known as Maintenance of Certification, maybe your group could take a few moments to streamline your rigid and archaic application process? It is not exactly rocket science or is keeping track of so much money simply too exhausting?