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A Voice for Private Physicians Since 1943

Corporate Cult of Certification Criticized by President of AAPS

Not long ago, board certification of physicians simply documented achievement of a certain level of specialty training, but recently it has become time-limited. There is a now a multi-million-dollar industry that imposes recurring onerous, expensive requirements on physicians. Constant recertification (Maintenance of Certification or MOC®) has become a cult, writes anesthesiologist Paul Martin Kempen, M.D., Ph.D., in the summer issue of the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. Dr. Kempen is current president of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).

“Certification itself is a very widespread American corporate phenomenon, impacting accountants, crane operators, plastics, electronics, organic foods, meat, doctors, licensing, indeed almost any aspect of daily American life. It is generally run by private corporations, with no oversight,” he writes. “In medicine, the certification and educational industry’s acronyms continue to multiply like legislation.”

While MOC® is touted as a way to protect patients, there is no evidence that it improves care, Dr. Kempen states. He notes that in 2012 the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) stated on its website that: “regardless of the profession—whether it is health care, law enforcement, education or accounting—there is no certification that guarantees performance or positive outcomes” (emphasis added).

When physicians are driven out of practice for not meeting MOC® requirements, they may be replaced by nonphysicians with far less training and experience—and no need for MOC®, Dr. Kempen points out.

“ABMS MOC no longer serves the profession by providing any methods of assessing, assuring, or advancing entry capabilities. Rather, it imposes arbitrary requirements throughout our professional lives, not with scientific evidence, but with merely the despotic will of an un-elected, self-serving plutocracy,” he writes.

What should govern medicine? “The welfare and needs of the patient,” he concludes.

Read article: https://jpands.org/vol26no2/kempen.pdf

The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons is published by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS), a national organization representing physicians in all specialties since 1943.

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