What is important is not only what the Specialty Societies said in the statement, but what they did not say.
WHAT THEY DID SAY
- That initial certification and continuing certification are two separate products offered by ABMS and their member boards and have "different purposes."
- Specialty societies are in support of initial certification and the value of a secure examination for that purpose.
- The recognition that boards have a responsibility to "inform organizations that continuous certification should not be the only criterion in these decisions" and further "encourage hospitals, health systems, payers, and other health care organizations to not deny credentialing or certification to a physician solely on the basis of certification status."
- They had "serious concerns" with four issues:
- Use of high-stakes, summative examinations as part of continuing certification
- The practice improvement component
- The role clarity between certifying boards and specialty societies
- The timeline for implementation.
- They likened the issue of trying to improve ongoing assessment of physician competence to "trying to change the tire on a moving car."
- It was clear the specialty societies wanted to divorce themselves from the "assessment" side of continuous certification to the kinder and gentler "learning" side of "continuous certification."
- And it looks like the specialty societies want to leverage the ABIM's earlier definition of "professionalism" created by the ABIM Foundation to leverage their own social justice imperative to participate in continuous certification, rather than just that needed by ABMS.
- They acknowledge the high degree of physician burnout and the need to implement their recommendations in a timely manner.
- They raised the "grandfather" and "grandmother" issue and voiced strong wording that the ABMS better not to mess with that exclusion, less the "grandfathers" at the specialty societies have to participate in continuous certification, too.
- They thank the Commission and "require further collaboration and discussion prior to implementation."
WHAT THEY DO NOT SAY
- They do not mention the finances of the ABMS member boards and the $5.7 billion dollars physician spend annually to participate in continuous certification.
- They do not mention how the data collected from computerized testing of US physicians is used to ration their patients' care by insurance companies.
- They do not mention how certification data are used to dovetail clinical registry data, physician data, and electronic medical record data, and the money earned by specialty societies for that collaboration.
- They insist in continuous certification even though it has never been independently shown to improve patient care quality or safety over participation in independent physician-driven continuing medical education.
- They do not address the excessive salaries and perks offered to the board members and officers of the ABMS Board system or the ACGME itself. (Should the head of the National Board of Medical Examiners really earn $1.2 million annually, for instance?).
- No mention is made of the many conflicted parties that have benefited financially from the continuous certification process, including, but not limited to, PearsonVue, Premier, Inc., state medical societies (like Massachusetts Medical Society - owners of the New England Journal of Medicine), specialty societies (like ACC), medical publishers (like Wolters Kluwer and Elsevier), and the finances collected by AMBS Solutions, LLC.
- Finally and most importantly in this CMSS comment letter, there was no mention (or acknowledgement) of the harms caused to physicians by "continuous certification" in terms of financial and psychological hardship, decreased patient access to physicians, strongman (coercive) tactics used to force participation, political motives that benefit these organizations, and the limitations that such a highly restrained and controlled educational product like "continuous certification" places on working physicians who must also deal with their overriding responsibility of caring for patients every single day.
Without acknowledging and dealing with the corrupt realities of the MOC (and continuous certification), the recommendations issued by CMSS in their comment letter should be rendered moot.
Please give generously to our legal fund to end this corrupt educational product nationwide.