ABA Has Failed to Stand Up to ABMS on MOC

Friend of IP4PI, Jef Fernley, DO shares his correspondence with the American Board of Anesthesiology.

Esteemed colleagues of the ABA,

You should have left well enough alone. For decades it was believed that being “Board Certified” was actually a hallmark of a quality Physician, something to set himself/herself apart from the rest, something to inspire confidence, a feather in one’s cap, and print on one’s business card.  The field of Anesthesiology has a proud history of independence and innovation.  The ABA used to be a reflection of that. But you failed to stand up to the ABMS on MOC. I think everyone understands that staring a novel multi-million dollar stream of revenue in the face is a very hard thing to reject.  You should have rejected it.  With the absence of any unbiased supportive evidence for MOC, and let’s be realistic, anyone who has a job taking care of patients rather than publishing papers knows that physician quality can’t be measured by any single test, therefore there won’t ever be any such real evidence.

Because AMBS had a virtual corner on the market for decades, administrators at nearly every level, from the hospital administrator to the federal government, bought into the “Board Certified” label and it became a virtual requirement to work in this country. But I think you blew it by embracing MOCA.  Now there is competition in the board certification game, which is being fed by a very angry and growing body of Physicians, who are actively changing hospital and practice bylaws, and are being increasingly heard at the local, state, and federal levels.

Instead of spinning your wheels trying to make MOCA somehow more palatable to us, trying to convince us how relevant it is to our skills and knowledge base to hang onto all that sweet money, you should recognize that you’ve created an existential threat to ABA itself, and do the right thing, lead the way, as you once did, tell the ABMS you won’t participate any longer, and reinstate lifetime board certification, with an apology to the diplomates.  I certainly don’t have any other diplomates that have the hubris to demand I jump through a bunch of new hoops to resuscitate them and demand that I pay for the privilege of doing so.

Sure, you don’t see the numbers as supporting my position; think perhaps I’m just some angry fringe minority, to be easily dismissed.  Most don’t see evolving trends until it’s too late to jump onto the correct bandwagon. I guess it’s up to you to decide.  I don’t plan to wait however. I have obtained “Board Certification” through NBPAS, and have a letter from my local legislator that she will support Anti-MOC legislation in the next session.  I won’t be participating in MOCA anymore, and you need not send me anything touting any reworks, as only reinstating my “Board Certification” as Lifetime, will be of any interest to me.

Best wishes for a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

-Dr Jef Fernley
(many colleagues bcc’d)


Begin forwarded message:

From: MOCA@theaba.org” <MOCA@theaba.org>
Subject: MOCA Minute Standard Set
Date: November 16, 2016 at 10:23:35 AM EST
To: <jef@abeswise.net>

THE AMERICAN BOARD OF
ANESTHESIOLOGY

Dear Dr. Fernley,
We are concerned that you have not registered for MOCA 2.0®. The ABA Board of Directors has set the standard diplomates must meet using the MOCA Minute® pilot to demonstrate they are maintaining their specialty-specific knowledge. If you do not register, answer 120 MOCA Minute questions and fulfill any other outstanding MOCA 2.0 requirements by Dec. 31, you will be listed as “Not Participating in MOCA” on the ABA website.

There is still time to catch up on your MOCA Minute questions; however, you may only answer 30 questions per day. Please register in your portal account at https://portal.theaba.org. For detailed MOCA 2.0 registration instructions, visit the MOCA 2.0 registration page.

Upon registering, you may answer your MOCA Minute questions by downloading the MOCA Minute app from the Apple store or Google Play or by logging into your portal account using Microsoft Internet Explorer Version 9 or later and Google Chrome Version 37 or later. Do not use Safari or other web browsers aside from those listed above to avoid technical difficulties.

We’ve created three short videos to provide you with more information about MOCA Minute and to introduce Measurement Decision Theory (MDT), the statistical model we’re using to measure diplomates’ performance. To watch the videos, click the links below:

Using MOCA Minute and the MDT model, the vast majority of diplomates are meeting the standard, as they have with the MOCA Exam.

Additional information may be found on the MOCA Minute page on our website. If you have questions about the MOCA Minute or your other MOCA 2.0 requirements, contact our Communications Center at (866) 999-7501 or coms@theaba.org Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. EST.

Sincerely,
<Culley+signature.jpg>
Deborah J. Culley, M.D.
Secretary

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2 thoughts on “ABA Has Failed to Stand Up to ABMS on MOC

  1. I am a family medicine doc who has failed their re-cert exam for the 3rd time since attempting in 2014. I have received the EXACT same score each time–which tempts me yo ask for a re-score. I started the MOC CMEs with ABFM back in 2005, always on time, attended a miserable board review course through AAFP in 2013 just before applying for the exam at the end of the same year. That is when I learned that only 7 years of CME was accepted as relevant for the exam application. My question is what is the point doing CME for a 10-year extension, when only 7 years of that will be recognized to sit for the exam. The answer lies in higher revenue for salaried board officials, I suppose. When I raved at them and asked for a refund for the unrecognized CME, it fell on deaf ears. The response was something like, “Well, that’s what is required. Like it or not”. So due to the time and money I had to spend on useless CME to just apply, I lost months of valuable study time and went on to fail the exam in late 2014 and again twice this year.

    I quit AAFP many years ago, but am a very busy, well-respected physician in my community who solely cares for patients. I am a wife and mother who is currenly uninsured. I struggle with a chronically ill spouse who had a heart attack the year I sat for the boards the first time. I admit that I do not have access to the proper study tools-nor the time to invest in MOC. But despite all this, I have done my best. I am asking for help on how to re-cert through NBPA and kiss the ABFM goodbye. I wouldn’t mind joining any class action lawsuits against them, either if given the chance…because I love a good fight!

    • I am a family medicine doc who has failed their re-cert exam for the 3rd time since attempting in 2014. I have received the EXACT same score each time–which tempts me to ask for a re-score. I started the MOC CMEs with ABFM back in 2005, always on time, attended a miserable board review course through AAFP in 2013 just before applying for the exam at the end of the same year. That is when I learned that only 7 years of CME was accepted as relevant for the exam application. My question is what is the point doing CME for a 10-year extension, when only 7 years of that will be recognized to sit for the exam. The answer lies in higher revenue for salaried board officials, I suppose. When I raved at them and asked for a refund for the unrecognized CME, it fell on deaf ears. The response was something like, “Well, that’s what is required. Like it or not”. So due to the time and money I had to spend on useless CME to just apply, I lost months of valuable study time and went on to fail the exam in late 2014 and again twice this year.

      I quit AAFP many years ago, but am a very busy, well-respected physician in my community who solely cares for patients. I am a wife and mother who is currenly uninsured. I struggle with a chronically ill spouse who had a heart attack the year I sat for the boards the first time. I admit that I do not have access to the proper study tools-nor the time to invest in MOC. But despite all this, I have done my best. I am asking for help on how to re-cert through NBPA and kiss the ABFM goodbye. I wouldn’t mind joining any class action lawsuits against them, either if given the chance…because I love a good fight!

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