A friend of IP4PI writes in:
I would like to take few moments of your time and share with you some ideas on MOC/OCC and board re-certification exams. As a fellow physician and a Son of Dr. A.T. Still, we all share similar concerns. Our burden is to be true and faithful to our profession and to serve the needs of our patients honestly.
As an Osteopathic Physician like many in my situation, I completed my Osteopathic Internship, and participated in an ACGME anesthesia residency program which makes us uniquely qualified to be board certified by the AOA AOBA, ABMS ABA and The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada, FRCPC (Canada). All three are fully respected and recognized in the USA. As a matter of fact, in my training program at USC we had many doctors from Canada who were certified by the FRCPC and were fully incorporated with a full Professorship status. The FRCPC has always been a Life-Time board certification process. Now, recently, last year, ABA has also re-adopted the Life-Time board certification process and dropped the EVERY-10-YEARS re-certification exam.
I am certified by the AOA AOBA and I chose to be certified by the same (as I had options to go with either the ABA or the FRCPC (Canada)) and am proud of this achievement.
Moving forward, the Osteopathic Physicians who have graduated from an Anesthesia ACGME program will have the three board certification options. But, only the AOA AOBA currently requires a re-certification exam. Given the options, it is possible that many new DO ACGME graduates and those who have to take the re-certification exam may consider ABA or the FRCPC options to avoid the process of re-certification exam which is against the best interest of the patients. This is a major stress factor. It puts our career on a very shaky ground. It places the Osteopathic Anesthesia Physicians at the mercy of the ABA and IMG FRCPC physicians in AMERICA!
As a fellow Osteopath and physician, I would kindly like to request the AOBA to eliminate the re-certification exam to preserve our pride and dignity. If you feel that the re-certification exam in the AOA AOBA system should be eliminated for its current diplomats and future diplomats, please kindly provide your input on this matter to the AOA BOS. The re-certification exam makes us less competitive in the tough Anesthesia Market in these challenging times. The said employer will seek the security of having an ABA or FRCPC certified physician knowing that those physicians will not have to deal with the uncertainty of potentially losing her/his board-certified status since they do not have to take the exam every ten years. Also, it makes those of us certified by the AOA AOBA less competitive in the market place to be employed. If those of us who are certified by the AOA AOBA, do not pass the re-certification exam, we will lose our jobs and most certainly be replaced by the either an ABA certified physician or an IMG FRCPC certified physician. As is, in my experience, we (DO Anesthesiologists at Major American Medical Centers) are frequently being treated as a third option to the ABA and the FRCPC certified physicians at major medical centers. Recruiters and fellowship directors often ask me if I am certified by the ABA to be considered, yet, we have IMG FRCPC working at the major medical centers with zero scrutiny with little or no American training or certifications. Yet, our Osteopathic residencies and board certifications are not recognized by the host nations that these IMG attendings come from.
Recently, I applied for a cardiac anesthesia fellowship at a major medical center. I was told that I would need an ABA board certification to be considered. However, many of those same programs have many staff members with FRCPC or other foreign credentials with little or no American certifications at any levels. As a matter of fact, many of the same departments have chairs, residency and fellowship directors and attending with FRCPC or other foreign certification but, when it comes to AOBA certification, we are scrutinized. By having this re-certification exam every ten years will only work against us.
I fear that those of us certified by the AOBA are in a very unstable situation if we do not follow the ABA and the FRCPC to offer a life-time board certification to its current AOBA diplomats and future diplomats. Many Osteopathic physicians who qualify for ABA and FRCPC may choose to defect to the same in future to seek security and comfort. Some new outfit such as NBPAS (https://nbpas.org/apply/?level=13) is also vowing to steal the defects to provide the said candidates with life-time board certifications in many specialties as well.
Finally, one thing that should be clear now is my loyalty to the AOA system rules supreme. I chose AOBA as my first choice given the fact that my training allowed me to be certified by all three respected agencies when I completed my residency in 2001 (AOA BOS, AMBS ABA, FRCPC) and I would like to finish my career the same.
Please kindly consider in eliminating this every-10-year exam to preserve the strength of our Osteopathic physicians, especially in Anesthesia as ABA and FRCPC is currently not participating in the same. This would also preserve the best interests of our patients.
I pray and hope that the AOA will continue to guide and lead us and stay true to our profession as being the best Sons and Daughters of Dr. A.T. Still.
Thanks very much for your time.