Saturday, May 19, 2018

Earning MOC™ Points: A Self-Paid Advertorial

As a follow-up of my earlier post on the American Board of Medical Specialties' (ABMS) Maintenance of Certification™(MOC™) program's tax on medical education, I was sent the "approved" responses of two different physicians that were required to answer questions to "earn" ABMS MOC™credits from the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Scientific Sessions after the meeting. These responses were "approved" by an HRS "reviewer" so the doctors could apply these points to remain "Board certified" and employed with their hospital systems. Each doctor had to write between 50 and 100 words (no more, no less) in response to questions posed by the ABIM. Despite their different responses, each received the exact same "feedback" that included links to various Heart Rhythm Society, American College of Cardiology, AMA, ABMS and non-governmental organizations' policies and web pages.

(See Physician 1's responses here and Physician 2's responses here.)

Given these canned responses to these physicians feedback, how is this time-consuming, costly, and meaningless "feedback" exercise for "earning" MOC™ points anything but a self-paid advertorial for the HRS, ACC, AMA, ABMS, and other non-governmental organizations?

It is a sad commentary that our own subspecialty societies legitimize this corrupt process despite all that we know about it today.

-Wes


Saturday, May 12, 2018

Taxing Medical Education with MOC

I just received this in my email in-basket from an attendee at this year's Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) Scientific Sessions:
I just got back from our annual EP meeting (HRS) which was in Boston. As you can imagine, the entire CME process has been bastardized to monetize the ABIM (American Board of Internal Medicine). After dutifully checking off which sessions I attended and rating the speakers, I noted a few things.

Firstly, all attendees were electronically tracked with RFID tags. Our attendance at the sessions were electronically tracked and automatically noted. A pretty neat feature and designed, I think, to prevent fraudulent CME behavior.

We had to answer a separate ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) section and actually provide prose with a minimum and maximum word count. There was a warning stating that the content of our replies would be reviewed before the ABIM would bless them for the MOC process.

Which begs the question. Under what circumstances does the ABIM have the authority to legitimize or delegitimize my reply to their nonsensical questions? The MOC portion of the CME conversion was more of a sampling of my opinion. Is this the new MOC paradigm: impose an educational tax on our meetings and then also charge a toll on their MOC highway?

This process is not only corrupt and inefficient; it is now surreal and insane.
Yes. It. Is.

MOC® is little more than taxation of physicians without representation.

(And we still don't have ABIM's financials from 2017 for the public's review.)

-Wes

Sunday, May 06, 2018

The Delicate Dance

There is a delicate dance between two partners every day in medicine: the dance between the benefits of innovation and the costs of that innovation. One can't survive without the other. Patients and doctors benefit from the innovation and corporations benefit by being able to sell more devices to benefit themselves and their stockholders. In a nutshell: this is capitalism.

But increasingly, doctors and patients are being asked to surrender more and more of their personal information non-transparently in a lopsided dance that benefits the corporations and their partners. A once mutual dance turns into an ultimatum.

When a physician's ability to practice medicine is tied to obtaining Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) points, the benefit of trading that information for both the patient and physician are less clear. Doctors are threatened with losing their ability to work unless they accrue MOC® points and their patients shoulder more and more of the costs for their healthcare non-transparently to fund the ruse.

So it should come as no surprise that the "tag and release" of physicians at this year's Heart Rhythm Societies' 2018 Scientific Sessions in Boston continues unabated. Attendees are not only automatically "opted-in" to data sharing with corporations, but with accrediting agencies, too:


Here we see that a physicians'  personal information is automatically tied to a "Credit Cart" where personal "beacon" information flows to corporations in return for automatic documentation of their Continuing Medical Education (CME) /  Maintenance of Certification® (MOC®) credits. But to receive that credit, doctors must complete surveys for the various accrediting agencies that unilaterally decide what qualifies to earn CME/MOC® approval, and what does not. 

Want to steer physician thinking, give 'em a bone, or MOC® credit, to drive key opinion leaders (KOLs) to your talk, then watch your sales grow!

For doctors, here are the rules for HRS2018 that ties a doctor's information-sharing to their freedom to learn what they want and to practice medicine: 

(Click to enlarge)
Think about it every time you attend a session.

For ourselves and our patients, there's no such thing as a free lunch.

-Wes