I enjoyed the article, “Maintaining Certification: Gold standard or is luster tarnished?” (First Take, July 10, 2017), and the tenacity against the maintenance of certification (MOC) farce. I remember applying to take family medicine boards in 1996 while I finished my residency. At that time, we were required to submit several board questions, pay a fee to take boards and fly across the country to the testing site.
Further reading: Docs sound off, question MOC
It seemed to me then that board certification had value. I knew many respected doctors in our hospital who were not board certified, however.
Today, our local hospital requires board certification. Many of the HMOs I accept require board certification. Many of the local doctors in my community that I (and other physicians) consider incompetent are board certified. Maintenance of certification is a joke in the medical community. This is clearly not a creation of physicians who wanted to impress upon their patients and peers that they are skilled at their craft.
Recently, I completed a MOC module on cardiovascular disease. I spent most of my time on busy work-
imputing patient demographics from ICD-10 codes to medications. Do I put my patients with heart disease on aspirin, statins and beta blockers? Was this module put together by a grade-school teacher?
In case you missed it: MOC-limiting laws spreading to additional states
Even if I did not perform these necessary tasks, I would have figured out how to fill out the other 38 patient forms after answering the first two.
I look forward to the repeal of maintenance of certification.
David G. Patterson, DO
Flat Rock, Michigan
Next: Health courts could help curb unnecessary suits
In response to in “MACRA’s massive bureaucracy” (Your Voice, May 25, 2017), David L. Keller, MD, FACP, mentioned that, according to a recent British Medical Journal article, doctors’ chances of being sued are less the more tests they order.
Further reading: Looking ahead at MACRA/MIPS reporting for physicians
Until better ways of handling medical liability are found-ways that don’t expose good doctors to lawsuit abuse-doctors will continue to order “lots of tests.” Some of these tests may not be needed, but doctors order them in hopes that they will be protected against allegations that they did not do all that they could do.
Health courts are one way of controlling unwarranted liability suits. Lawyers refer to them as form of alternative dispute resolution. They operate similar to workers’ compensation.
Their benefits include reasonable (and quicker) payments to patients and lower legal costs.
Lawmakers need to give health courts serious consideration.
Edward Volpintesta, MD