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Your Voice: How the ABMS can truly fix MOC


In “ABIM needs to look in the mirror when discussing lack of trust,” (First Take, May 10, 2017) Keith L. Martin criticizes the policies of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). His comments can be applied to the entire American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).

To regain trust the boards must:

• Replace the term “board certified” with “diplomate.” “Board certified” implies that physicians who are not certified are inferior in competence. This is not necessarily true and is discriminatory.

• Reinstate all those who have lost their diplomate status.

• Reimburse the application fees of all those who have not passed the ABMS’ exams.

• Change their approach from a testing organization to an educational one. This can be done with home assessment programs with question and answer booklets. The booklets would also serve as a reference library.

The ABMS has created a standard that confuses patients for they may lose confidence in their doctors’ abilities if they do not have or have lost certification.

Without any legal authority, the ABMS has assumed the role of a national board of health. If its power goes unchecked it will soon replace the medical licensing authority of the states’ boards of health.

Edward Volpintesta, MD
Bethel, Connecticut



Paper beats interoperability problems every time

In response to “It’s time for everyone to stop talking interoperability and actually achieve it” (First Take, June 10, 2017), as any physician who practices medicine knows, the electronic health record (EHR) and Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) are a complete decoupling of the understanding between fiction and reality. Placing an EHR in an office/hospital requires a network, software, trying to understand/train scribes and a complex balance of cost.

One simply spends a third of one’s revenues on unpredictable hardware and software rather than the care of the plight of a human caught in a complex process we term illness.

Rich or poor, no one understands why they (the individuals) have illness. They want to understand this and looking at the head of a physician as data is being entered into a computer does not help.

A physician can write or draw on a piece of paper much more efficiently than a computer. Paper does not “crash” like a complex network nor can it be hacked. I understand the thought behind MIPS and the EHR, however let us not forget that dictatorial practice has no place in a setting of healthcare. 

James B. Martel MD, MPH
Sacramento, California

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