Physician Survey Reveals Widespread Dissatisfaction with Maintenance of Certification

Responding to widespread physician frustration with specific aspects of Maintenance of Certification (MOC), the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) recently surveyed Pennsylvania physicians to identify concerns and gather suggestions for improving the board recertification program.

PAMED received more than 850 survey responses, approximately half coming from primary care physicians. Three-fourths of the respondents indicated that they are required to recertify with an examination every 10 years, while the remainder said they are grandfathered out of doing so.

The results clearly confirmed the widespread physician dissatisfaction with MOC. Highlights from the survey results include:

  • Eighty-eight percent expressed their disapproval to the MOC Part IV Practice Performance Assessment, which requires benchmarking of patient care data through practice assessments and patient surveys.
  • Sixty-five percent expressed their disapproval to the Part III requirements of MOC, which requires passing a cognitive examination every five-10 years. Seventy-two percent also agreed that the Part III examination is punitive and potentially jeopardizes physician credentialing and reimbursement.
  • 77 percent agreed with the statement that MOC requirements take too much time away from direct patient care.
  • 89 percent said that the fees associated with MOC are excessive.
  • 91 percent agreed with the statement that persons involved in setting MOC requirements should be actively practicing physicians directly engaged in patient care.
  • 67 percent said they do not support the concept of MOC.

The bottom line: Physicians are widely dissatisfied with MOC.

Read more in this Quick Consult, prepared by Scot Chadwick, PAMED’s legislative counsel.

The survey also asked physicians for suggestions regarding how the MOC process could be improved. We received several hundred open-ended responses, which we are currently reviewing.

PAMED will now use the survey results to determine the next steps in our ongoing efforts to address physicians concerns with MOC and maximize the effectiveness of programs that advance lifelong learning and continuous improvement.

Several steps are already underway, including

  • Meeting directly with specialty boards to share concerns and seek improvements to MOC.
  • Issuing a formal Statement of Concern to draw attention to the problems with MOC.
  • Continuing to work with the American Medical Association to address physician concerns at the national level.
  • Working to develop recommended improvements to the MOC process.

Prior to the survey, PAMED was already responding to physician concerns. At PAMED’s 2013 and 2014 annual meetings, delegates adopted policies to help address the issue. In July 2014, the PAMED Board of Trustees also established a board Task Force on Continuous Professional Education. The Task Force developed a Statement of Principles on MOC, which the PAMED Board of Trustees adopted in September. PAMED took these principles to the AMA’s November Interim Meeting, and succeeded in efforts to convince the AMA to adopt a similar set of principles.

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