You might not like it, but MOC is a fact of life for docs

Like them or not, maintenance of certification (MOC) exams are, practically speaking, a requirement for physicians across the country.

While not all hospitals require board certification--in fact, 19 percent of licensed physicians aren’t board-certified--the reality is, many payers require MOC as a condition of treating patients, reports Medscape.

Critics of MOC requirements say the recertification exams are time consuming, costly and don’t improve how doctors practice medicine. Then there’s the lack of fairness: Physicians certified before 1990 aren’t required to participate, reports the publication.

Even the staunchest critics of MOC requirements, such as David Siegler, M.D., a Tulsa-Oklahoma-based pediatric neurologist who introduced anti-MOC resolutions at the Oklahoma State Medical Association, maintains his American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology certification. That's despite the fact that his home state was the first to pass legislation that prevents hospitals and insurance companies from requiring the recertification exams, according to Medscape.

Meghan Edison, M.D., a pediatrician in Grand Rapids, Michigan, eschewed her American Board of Pediatrics certification--and she did so publicly, writing an open letter explaining her decision to the certifying board and posting it on her website, reports the publication. The response from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan/Blue Care Network was swift. Within two months, the insurance company told Edison she could no longer care for its patients. The payer has since told Edison she has until the end of 2016 to get recertified.

Edison is hopeful that legislation will pass in Michigan that prevents insurers from requiring MOC in order to take patients. For now, she may have no choice but to seek recertification. "If your hospital privileges or your insurance are tied to MOC, it's not voluntary,” she told Medscape. “Maintaining your certification should be such a minor thing, and yet it's become quite powerful. How did this happen?"

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