There is nothing that has unified U.S. physicians more than their distain for the American Board of Medical Specialties' (ABMS) unproven Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. Unfortunately, portions of this program will be used as a physician reporting measure for the new "Doc Fix" legislation coming up for a vote before the Senate on Monday. Furthermore, the National Quality Forum, headed by the former director of the ABIM, Christine Cassel, MD, stands to receive $90 million to develop even more quality measures if this legislation is enacted (Section 207).
If there was ever a time to contact your Senator to voice your opinion on MOC, the time is now.
Unfortunately, most doctors have never contacted a senator, or they don't have time to research all of the nuances of an issue to sound like they know what they're talking about. As a result, most doctors shrug their shoulders because they feel there's nothing that can be done since the powerful special interests control Congress anyway.
Perhaps this is true.
But just as likely, Senators realize the foot soldiers on the ground who actually deliver care might just be an important voice if legislation is to work as it is intended. Senators are not deep in the weeds in health care and have physician lobbyists bending their ear, but not working physicians. It is up to us to educate THEM about what bothers working physicians, but we must act quickly.
You can find the contact information of your senators here.
To save time, here is a letter that you can download to add your name, contact information, and state of practice that does the heavy lifting for you. (You can get a Microsoft Word copy of it by clicking here). Read it. Fill in the blanks, and if it articulates your concerns about using portions of the ABIM/ABMS MOC requirements as physician reporting measures in the new bill, then send it to both of your state senators TODAY.
Thank you. I have no idea if this will make a difference, but at least we can say we tried.
PS: Be sure to forward this blog post to your colleagues!
PPS: If you want a more politically correct letter to send that addresses additional issues, consider this one instead.