Friday, February 24, 2017

Bringing the ABMS MOC Program Before the FTC

Looks like the new Federal Trade Commission Chairwoman Maureen K. Ohlhausen might take an interest in the onerous and costly American Board of Medical Specialties' Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program:
Testifying on behalf of the FTC before the Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy and Consumer Rights, Commissioner Maureen K. Ohlhausen noted that while occupational licensing can help protect consumers from health and safety risks and support other valuable public policy goals, unwarranted restrictions can harm competition, leaving consumers with higher-priced, lower-quality, and less convenient services.

“From, a competition standpoint, occupational regulation can be especially worrisome when regulatory authority is delegated to a board composed of members of the occupation it regulates,” Commissioner Ohlhausen said.

According to the testimony, this type of board may make regulatory decisions that serve the private economic interests of its members and not the policies of the state (emphasis mine). Such decisions could result in occupational restrictions that discourage new entrants; deter competition among licensees and from providers in related fields; and suppress truthful, nondeceptive advertising, and innovative products or services that could challenge the status quo.

The testimony notes that while the principles of federalism embodied in the state action doctrine limit the reach of federal antitrust laws when a restraint on competition is imposed by a state, this does not mean that all state regulators are exempt from antitrust scrutiny. Through its enforcement and advocacy work, the Commission has helped to define the contours of the state action doctrine for actions taken by state boards composed of private actors – culminating in last year’s decision by the Supreme Court in North Carolina State Board of Dental Examiners v. FTC.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Why Didn't I Think of This?

What the public REALLY needs: a credentialer of the credentialers, based in Washington, DC!

These guys have it all: An Editorial Committee, an International Task Force, an External Stakeholder Development Task Force,  Public Member Development Task Force, Credentialing Careers Task Force, and Emerging Leaders Task Force - oh, and don't forget the Legal Action Fund to pay for hefty strongman tactics!

Sounds like the playbook for the American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, doesn't it?

Pure genius.

I feel so much safer now, don't you?


Monday, February 06, 2017

PPA Requests Congressional Hearing, IRS Investigation of MOC Program

The Library of Congress is a beautiful building in Washington DC. On the North wall of the Library of Congress Member's Room is a beautiful mosaic representing law:

It was the perfect setting to deliver the Practicing Physicians of America's debut message to Congress regarding the ABMS Maintenance of Certification program (pdf of slides) last Thursday:


Additional information: 

My earlier rebuttal to Richard Baron, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Internal Medicine's, defense of MOC previously published in Medical Economics.

Anyone interested in downloading the Powerpoint of my presentation to use for educational or advocacy efforts can download the presentation here.

Practicing Physicians of America website.

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

Practicing Physicians of America: Taking the Stick

Shuzan, a Buddhist monk of the tenth century, once held up a bamboo stick before his disciples. "Call this a stick," he bellowed, "and you assert; call this not a stick, and you negate. Now, do not assert or negate, what would you call this stick? Speak! Speak!"

From out the ranks, a young monk ventured forth, grabbed the bamboo, and, breaking it in two, exclaimed to Shuzan, "What is this?"*

Wonder where I've been for the past several weeks?

Welcome to Practicing Physicians of America.

Thanks to everyone who has collaborated to make this dream become a reality in a remarkably short 12 days. We hope the momentum continues to grow. We have strong advisors and are commited to ending unproven bureaucratic intrusions that threaten our ability to practice our trade. There is still plenty to do as we work to create a new 501(c)(3) by practicing physicians for practicing physicians. This is a voluntary, grassroots effort.

There is strength in numbers and we're in Washington DC to kick it all off tomorrow (press release here). I hope EVERY practicing physician, irrespective of political loyalty, will join us in the work to end the bureaucratic intrusions that are threatening our ability to care for patients.  Please join us in this David vs Goliath fight.

We will have more in the coming days.


* From: An Introduction to Zen Buddhism, by D.T. Suzuki (Grove Press, 1964).