Sunday, February 15, 2015

Change MOCA. Sign The Petition

A reader of this blog has sent me an email asking me to publicize a petition to demand that the American Board of Anesthesiologists change the current cumbersome rules for maintaining our board certificates. Dr. Thomas Gallen, M.D., M.P.H., is a cardiothoracic anesthesiologist in Indiana. Here is his email to me, which he gave me permission to reprint:

MOCA costs a minimum of $5,000 over 10 years and countless hours of your time in travel and activities of [at best] questionable educational benefit. I/We am/are not opposed to CME nor even to the possibility of mandatory tests but the current system is burdensome and bloated.

We are reaching an age in medicine when the cost-value of everything we do is questioned and I suggest that logic be applied to MOCA as well. Other boards are beginning to question their "practice performance and improvement" components among other components and I ask you now to support me in asking the American Board of Anesthesiology to do the same.

Please read and sign the following petition. This is unlikely to be a final accepted solution but rather a demonstration of Anesthesiologist opposition to our governing Board's decision to monetize the business of certification against our best interests. You are highly encouraged to pass this petition on to your friends, to every Anesthesiologist you know and ask them to do the same. You have the utmost gratitude of my self and the colleagues who have already signed and those who follow you.

You can like and share on Facebook here:

Thank you for your consideration.

Most sincerely,
Thomas Gallen M.D., M.P.H.

Longtime readers know that I have been a persistent critic of the maintenance of certification process for years. If you use the search bar on this page and look up MOCA, you will see the numerous posts I've made criticizing the ABA for this cumbersome and expensive coercion. In fact, I wrote so many posts about MOCA that some readers complained I had nothing better to write about so I put this subject to rest.

But now I see that I merely jumped the gun. Before, the majority of practicing anesthesiologists were rewarded lifetime board certificates so they didn't give a damn about their younger and more vulnerable colleagues who had to pay dearly to take yearly CME courses and fly long distances for tedious simulation and written exams. But the ABMS made a crucial decision recently that significantly widened their base of enemies. The physicians who hold lifetime certification now have a qualifier attached to their certificates. Unless they are also enrolled in this extortion, their certificates will read, "Certified, not participating in MOC."

Clever little bit of legalese, right? The doctor is still considered board certified but unless he starts paying into this unproven program, everybody, especially the lawyers, will be able to see that he hasn't maintained the proper continuing medical education as suggested by the medical board. The doctor's medical judgement just became that much easier for a malpractice lawyer to annihilate.

So please go to the petition website and sign it. I don't know how much of an effect this will have at the ABA, especially since there are literally millions of dollars at stake for the organization. But if the ABIM can start noticing the dissatisfaction with their MOC and begin a new conversation of implementing changes, it doesn't hurt for thousands of anesthesiologists to do the same to the ABA.

1 comment:

  1. The ABA recently expanded and built out very new, fancy, highly wired offices in Raleigh. If you think for a minute they will do anything to risk staff reductions and loss of income after they indebted themselves to all that, you're insane. The ASA needs to stand up to the ABA OR another accrediting body recognized by ACGME and the ASA needs to be developed. The Rathmell article a couple of years ago where he claimed no conflict of interest while extolling the virtues of the ABA, only for us to learn later (and Anesthesiology's editor to apologize for) is that Rathmell gets paid an annual salary/stipend from the ABA. No conflict? Dream on.