Then something wonderful happened.
Physicians stopped working for a moment and picked up the phone. For many, it was the first time they had ever called a Senator's office. For others, the first time they had written one.
Here's a few examples from Twitter:
So. Everyone who cares @ ABIM/MOC or many Medicare disasters of HR2 is calling Senators in AM?https://t.co/aPkNfV90PW @doctorwes @kksheld
— LE (@LG44715502) April 12, 2015
@doctorwes @DrSethdb Calling my senators was remarkably easy and took less than five minutes. I encourage others to call.
— Phillip Cuculich, MD (@DoctorPhillEP) April 13, 2015
@doctorwes @kevinmd @lg44715502 Message delivered to @SenJohnMcCain and @JeffFlake - MOC not about better patient care shouldn't be in HR2!
— JCT (@jct_ucb) April 13, 2015
I called @SenGillibrand & @SenSchumer! RT @doctorwes Working Doctors, Call Your Senator TODAY http://t.co/6mgTE1bE0I Where's the petition?
— Ida Santana, MD (@IdaSantanaMD) April 13, 2015
For US Senators in Washington DC (or their staffers), it was also the first time they had heard from front line working physicians rather than physician-lobbyists knocking on their door. Weren't working physicians supposed to just be "excellent sheep?"
But there they were: a pediatrician calling over her lunch hour, a family practice doctor taking a few moments between patients, or a cardiac electrophysiologist ("What's that?" they asked) reading EKGs and calling.
From all over the country.
It was almost as if you could hear them asking, "Why are these doctors calling? What do you mean there's an anti-trust suit pending? I thought they wanted this SGR Reform! What is this MOC thing anyway?"
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Last night we had a group meeting of some forty cardiologists in our practice. Everyone listened politely to the administration explaining their new initiatives, new plans for growth, things we could do better, how the SGR Reform Bill, HR2, had passed. Doctors listen politely. But there was a buzz in the air.
Younger doctors were questioning if MOC was still part of the bill. They were questioning the regulatory establishment, wondering if they should join the American College of Cardiology if they supported the passage of HR2 that included MOC. Questioning. Reenergized. Hopeful.
Practicing doctors might not have won the battle to stop the ABMS Maintenance of Certification program from being incorporated into our new health care law, or for parts of the program being used as a medical registry for physician reporting purposes in H.R. 2. But the other night they won something much better: they learned that they weren't powerless. They remembered that being "accountable" for peoples' lives is very different than being "accountable" for dollars.
Thanks to all who raised a voice, wrote a letter, and took a stand against MOC. I can't tell you how great it was to see so many physician nationwide come together so quickly to stake a stand on this remarkably divisive and corrupt program that extends, like a hydra, throughout our entire health care system.
We have have good reason to smile.
Congress and the public now know about it too.