Has the American Board of Medical Specialties finally overplayed its hand? There may finally be some movement to remove the shackles of the Maintenance of Certification programs that have bedeviled physicians. On April 12th, Oklahoma became the first "Right to Care" state by banning the use of MOC as a prerequisite for a doctor to practice medicine in the state. According to SB1148, "Nothing in the Allopathic Medical and Surgical Licensure and Supervision Act shall be construed as to require a physician to secure a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) as a condition of licensure, reimbursement, employment, or admitting privileges at a hospital in this state."
So there you have it. Oklahoma has legislated that no doctors can be denied their right to pursue their profession just because they don't have a piece of paper saying they paid thousands of dollars to take exams that are barely relevant to their jobs. No insurance companies can deny reimbursements to physicians who have not put up the extortion money to their medical societies to take meaningless simulations and tests. No physician needs to live in fear of losing their medical license just because they refuse to bow down to the overlords at the ABMS and put up with their greedy nonsensical plans.
This train doesn't seem to be stopping. Kentucky's SB17 is also on board with abolishing the requirement to participate in MOC to work as a doctor. "The (medical) board shall not require any form of specialty medical board certification or any maintenance of certification to practice medicine in Kentucky." It further states that "The board's regular requirements, including continuing medical education, shall suffice to demonstrate professional competency." Boom. Kentucky's bill forbids their medical board from requiring MOC as a prerequisite for obtaining and keeping a medical license. Though I question their wording where it sounds like one doesn't even need a specialty certification, like a certification from the American Board of Anesthesiology to practice anesthesia in the state. Unless I'm misreading the statement, it would seem that any doctor can practice any form of medicine there without needing board certification.
Other states are also seeing the light. Missouri's legislature is currently debating a bill similar to Kentucky's. Michigan is working on a law the specifically prohibits hospitals from denying admitting privileges and insurance companies from refusing reimbursements to doctors who don't participate in MOC.
The ABMS and all their minions in the other specialty boards thought they could push doctors around when they first required ten year recertifications. But then their megalomania could not be stopped as they required an ever increasing number of expensive and pointless hurdles to cross for doctors to keep their jobs. The final straw was when they requested that previously lifelong certificate holders should participate in MOC or their certificates would be diminished in the eyes of the ABMS. We may finally be witnessing some sanity returning to the medical licensure and certification process. Keep pushing your state medical societies to advocate for similar laws in your state. This was passed with bipartisan support, actually unanimously, in Oklahoma. There is no reason it can't work in other state legislatures. Hope all states eventually follow Oklahoma's lead before my next recertification exam.