Letter to the editor: Doctor-patient relationship is a great loss

April 10, 2014

MOC requirements are destroying the trust needed between doctors and patients.

I feel that the ABMS and the American Board of Family Medicine have breached a long-established contract with me as I have recertified multiple times over the years. Having the ability to retire rather than deal with all these ridiculous requirements, I decided to just not bother with the process. 

A mass exodus of physicians is what I think will happen. Here in Arizona more than a quarter of all primary care physicians are over 62 so you can imagine if we all just stopped practicing! Arizona is already 2,450 primary care physicians short of the national average without the introduction of much of the Affordable Care Act.

I think that we need a national poll done about how many of us are planning to just quit practicing. I have started letters to my specialty board many times and am tired of getting all the “glowing” comments of why we should continue with this inane and time-consuming process.

There will always be good and bad doctors, ones who really care and those who view it as a job. I have loved medicine and have tried to pass on what I have learned from exemplary professors, and have always tried to be the kind of physician who cared for me as a child and truly cared for his patients-I thank them all for their examples and for training me in my craft and art!

The big difference for patients is a relationship that is built on trust and mutual regard and which bring changes that improve the individual’s health. The physician must always assume their role of teacher, motivator and example of healthy living.

 Years ago I warned of the dangers of the loss of autonomy and the ability to act independently on behalf of our patients. I would rather have seen medicine socialized than incorporated-at least we elect our government leaders-even if they seem more self-interested than doing what is best for America. I fear we have left a mess to inherit and I don’t see the doctor-patient relationship ever being what it was before. That is truly one great losses for America, whether it is realized or not. 

Robert D. Jones, MD

Phoenix, Arizona