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Your Voice: ABIM leadership disconnected from medical practice reality


I don’t doubt Dr. Richard Baron’s sincerity in defending MOC (“The man behind MOC defends the program against critics,” August 10, 2016).

I don’t doubt Dr. Richard Baron’s sincerity in defending MOC (“The man behind MOC defends the program against critics,” August 10, 2016).

But considering the unprecedented amount of work and strain that doctors deal with day in and day out-not just taking care of patients that are getting older, that are taking more medications, undergoing more tests and procedures and that are more demanding-but plodding through insurance regulations, new opioid regulations, hospital credentialing, state licensing requirements and a constant stream of interruptions from hospitals, pharmacies, nursing homes, home health care agencies and visiting nurses, as well as numerous phone calls from worried patients and their families.

All this and a constant stream of laboratory reports, X-rays, CT scans, ultrasounds, MRIs and ever-larger hospital discharge summaries and emergency room messages, as well as practicing with the ever-present threat of malpractice suits-taking into account this and more, it seems that his sincerity is misplaced.

Patients’ number one complaint is their doctors don’t spend enough time talking and listening to them. Doesn’t the ABIM understand this? Has the divide between practicing doctors and academia gotten this wide? Is the leadership of the ABIM that disconnected from the reality of medical practice?

The ABIM should offer to help doctors in this era of change and transformation. For, clearly, doctors need it more than ever.

The speed with which new medical information hits physicians is overwhelming.  In fact, I wonder if the speed and quantity of information has surpassed the ability of most of them to absorb it.

What physicians need is concise, meaningful medical updates. These would act as self-assessment programs and would help them navigate the confusing stream of information.

Otherwise, doctors will become “test crammers” as some already have as out of fear they succumb to the dictates of the ABIM, like an insidious disease robbing doctors of their peace of mind. 

MOC undervalues doctors’ capabilities, and it has caused dissension and loss of collegiality.

What had started decades ago as a voluntary exam for doctors who wanted to show expertise above the average, has degenerated into an academic mandate.

It is the ultimate example of what used to be called “the town and gown” syndrome. Worse, it shows what can happen when our medical leadership  puts too much trust in organizations and then falls asleep at the wheel.

Ironically MOC is doing more harm than good for most doctors.


Edward Volpintesta, MD

Bethel, Connecticut



Doctors predicted Obamacare failure long ago

I read your article on Obamacare ratings ("Obamacare receives a big, fat 'F' from physicians," July 25, 2016) with derisive laughter.

Are you just now beginning to understand the havoc Obamacare has caused? Most doctors predicted this result even before the law was passed or implemented, but no one wanted to listen to us. What do we know about treating patients after all, compared to politicians, lawyers, insurers and the news media? 

Sadly, not even the editors of Medical Economics magazine nor our various medical organizations (think especially the AMA) supported us. Y’all merely tried to teach us how to navigate the program when you should have been organizing us to fight against it. 

And now you act amazed by the destruction Obamacare has wrought and print a flashy article rating it an ‘F’. Shame on you and everyone else who failed America’s patients and our magnificent medical profession by supporting the ACA’s insupportable intrusion into our sphere.


Larry Pivnick, MD, JD

Dallas, Texas


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