No Mandatory MOC – A physician pushes for reform in Maryland

Received from Maryland physician Jef Fernley, DO:

I have just got off the phone with Mary Beth Carozza, my State Delegate. Following in the wake of legal actions against MOC in OK, MI, Florida, and others, I expressed to her that I wish to have her champion legislation ending compulsory MOC in Maryland. The bill I’d offer basically says, if you wish to participate in Maintenance of Certification efforts, you are welcome to, if you do NOT, no employer, payer, etc. can use your board certification status to hire, fire, pay, not pay, promote, demote, etc. you. It makes MOC voluntary.

If you love MOC, truly believe that it’s improved the quality of your patient care, made you a better doctor, and that it’s completely worth the time, effort, and $$ you’ve invested, and you care not one bit how your board has used that tremendous surge in their income, then I apologize for having bothered you with this, feel free to delete without reading further.

If you disagree with the essentially obligatory nature of MOC, then the time has come for you to do something. You’ve complained, to colleagues, friends, family members… Aside from the momentary catharsis, we all know complaining doesn’t truly accomplish anything worthwhile. Mary Beth asked me about the AMA’s position. I sent her a link and summarized their opposition to MOC. She asked about Med Chi’s position. I told her about the resolution that was presented last month, that my understanding is that it was referred to a higher board with questions, but that Med Chi recommended a legislative course be pursued, and if asked, would support an anti-MOC effort from the General Assembly. She is going to be trying to learn whether or not Physicians in the state support ending the obligatory nature of MOC or not. She wants to speak with (fellow Republican) Nick Kipke, who sits on the Health and Government Operations Committee that would likely be tasked with this issue, and is the minority leader. The time is NOW to speak up, let your voice be heard. I told her my experiences, told her about physicians electing early retirement, told her about physicians leaving medicine all together for other careers, told her how that diminishes patient access to Physicians, but legislators won’t stick their neck’s out for one person alone in this sort of thing. They don’t want to introduce legislation without knowing whether or not it has a chance of passing or not, and they will work to handicap a bill’s chances.

Please contact her, and Delegate Kipke:

marybeth.carozza@house.state.md.us
nicholaus.kipke@house.state.md.us

and let them know you are a REAL Physician, seeing REAL patients, and what your feelings are on MOC. EVEN if you will only make the time to say, “Please support efforts to end MOC,” they have to know there are Physicians in practice in the state who want MOC addressed. Then, contact your own state elected representatives (if you aren’t represented by MBC, or Nick.) The sooner you act, the better, the more frequently you call them, e-mail them, visit them, the better.

You all know other Maryland Physicians. PLEASE forward this to them, encourage them to contact Mary Beth, Nick, and their own elected representatives. (Delegate Dan Morhaim, an ER physician from Baltimore, has been very supportive of Physician-friendly efforts, and has shown himself to be one to put in hard work for Physicians’ interests in MD).

The Physicians in Med Chi with whom I worked to bring the MOC resolution to the House of Delegates last month were very supportive. Med Chi is the State’s Medical Society. Their job is to represent you. Given that legislators here, as well as most other states, look to the state’s medical society for position papers, and other input, it would be wise to reach out to Med Chi, let them know where you stand on MOC, and maybe more importantly where you want THEM to stand on MOC.

members@medchi.org

If legislators agree to introduce this bill here in the General Assembly, in less than 3 months now, Maryland physicians could be freed of MOC requirements by mid next year. Would that be worth a few minutes of your time and effort?

-Jef Fernley, D.O., M.S.
Worcester County

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