Guest Post from Ken Ping-Chang Lee, MD
First identify the state society that has access to the state and federal government, such as the Governor, Speaker of the House and other legislators. Make sure you are a paid up member of that society and find your local county chapter if they have such ; then attend their next board meetings. Find physicians there that are 50 yrs of age or younger so they can identify the threat posed by ABMS /MOC; they will either totally hate it or are grandfathered , thus are nonchalant about MOC. Try to convince the local chapter to adopt a resolution against MOC. Learn to write a resolution and it would be good to copy what has been done by Florida’s FMA or other previous societies; this can be found on the excellent website “ChangeBoardRecert.com“.
Whether or not the local chapter will support this resolution, try to become a delegate to the next big/annual meeting of the society. Learn parliamentary procedure and practice delivering your speech in 10 minutes or less. Study all you can on ABMS, your specialty board, FSMB and all the publications and speeches by Paul Kempen, who is the leading resource against MOC. Read the AAPS website, know the details of the Federal suit against ABMS. Make sure your resolution is accepted by the society ; get help if there are roadblocks from sympathetic members. My state society had a website that allowed virtual committee testimony in writing; I got some colleagues to write anti-MOC opinions before the committee meetings.
Once at the meeting prepare to speak in front of a panel of committee members. Most of them will be over age 50 and be grand fathered on their Boards , so they may not feel your pressure. Prepared to be attacked by agents of the ACP , AMA or other societies that have a financial interest in MOC profits. Be aware of academic MDs who teach MOC courses, they will denouce you and belittle you as a cry-baby who is anti-learning. After my testimony against MOC I was told by several society members that I was well versed in the topic and it was a powerful speech. Then a senior member approached me and said such a powerful,controversial resolution would likely get side tracked into “referral “status to an executive committee, where it could languish for a year and then die, all out of my control. I learned that the second day of the meeting the House of Delegates would meet and I could ask for extraction of my resolution for floor debate.
My resolution was indeed NOT adopted but referred later that night, so my advisor was right. The next am I asked for my resolution to be extracted. I then stood up and did not reiterate my first speech but laid it out for all 130 delegates to hear: Stopping MOC is not new, it began 2012 in OH and went to 10 other states, lastly in FL this summer. I recounted numerous conversations with my local practicing colleagues and how they were victimized by re-certifying ,some even on 3 different boards,at $5-10k dollars a round, losing months of their family time and suffering mental duress. They all hated the testing boards but did not know what to do; I told them I will fight for them at the annual meeting. It is this true life testimony that stirs the delegates;it hit a painful nerve. I noted that one local hospital now requires re-certification or proof of perpeptual test taking to be on staff now! Suddenly I found I had allies amongst strangers from other counties; they stood up and also denounced the “board re-certification” process; they were in specialities outside of mine.
I sensed the political tone and asked the speaker for a floor vote; the Yeas clearly were more than the Nays and my resolution was passed without any electronic voting. I found instantly new friends and allies after this vote. I never knew I could win until the last moment. To mount a resolution to stop MOC at your state society is a long, bitter and lonely fight. What bothered I and my wife the most was that among the 6000+ MDs working in WA state, I was the only one who knew so much about MOC and was fighting it all the way. During this annual meeting , there were over 2 dozen resolutions proposed; most got trashed. It is improbable that an amateur MD with no budget and little free time outside of practicing Internal Medicine could pass a political resolution on the first try.
It was done all on my own, with no official backing from my county chapter.I was even told by one older member ” It won’t matter because in 10 years the MOC will be like a law”. I kept on fighting; that is the American way . For all the other states societies that have not opposed MOC, there is a chance that freedom minded physician(s) can do what I have done. If we lose our freedom, nothing else holds much meaning.