Topic: Civil Rights
Choosing the career path of a physician is thought to be a lucrative and highly respected profession. A licensed physician is typically considered a well educated and trustworthy professional whose medical assessment and opinion is well respected by patients and the community. While physicians are still widely respected and trusted today, there is a new level of accountability emerging that is causing a debate among medical professionals. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) offers physician certification and ABMS Maintenance of Certification programs that require advanced education and a comprehensive evaluation process.
While most agree that the ABMS certification and MOC is an effective tool to ensure that physicians continue with their professional development and maintain a high level of performance, many argue that the certification test does not truly reflect their knowledge in a specialty area. Others claim that the monetary costs and time requirements necessary to achieve certification make it difficult to obtain. Application and filing fees alone can range from $1,300 to more than $2,000, which can be a financial burden for private practice physicians.
Primary care physicians claim that the test requirements do not accurately reflect the treatment or decision making issues they face, therefore nullifying the value and reality of the certification itself. Many physicians are also calling for changes in the way that it publishes physician certification and maintenance of certification results on its website. The public and anyone else interested in a physician’s qualifications can log onto the website and see whether they have “met” or “not met” the MOC requirements. ABM has agreed to look at options to the current reporting methods which may not accurately reflect the qualifications of physicians who hold grandfathered or lifetime certifications.
Arguments continue in the debate over MOC with many supporting the certification process and financial requirements as a means to provide the public with reliable information about a physician’s qualifications. Though many believe that the certification criteria assesses competence, professionalism, commitment to professional development and quality of care, it should not be used in the decision making process for state licensing or hospital and insurance credentials. In response to the concerns presented, ABMS updated and modified its procedures last January, making the certification requirements better reflect the physician’s professionalism, judgment and knowledge. While this is considered a step in the right direction, those opposing the process are asking for continued review and modifications as needed.
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Choosing the career path of a physician is thought to be a lucrative and highly respected profession. A licensed physician is typically considered a well educated and trustworthy professional whose medical assessment and opinion is well respected by patients and the community.