The Ohio House has begun hearings on an important bill that could ban maintenance-of-certification (MOC) as a prerequisite for licensure, insurance plan participation, hiring, and hospital admission privileges. Ohio is now one of about a dozen states that have or is currently seeking to curtail the use of MOC as a threatening tactic that could impact a physicians’ ability to practice medicine.
The Ohio Gastroenterology Society (OGS) is fully supportive of House Bill 273 and has sent a letter in support of the measure to Ohio House Health Committee chairman Stephen A. Huffman, MD. OGS, supported by the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG), contends that the MOC requirements being imposed across the country are expensive, time-consuming and do not help to improve patient care.
“OGS supports lifelong learning opportunities, such as those presented by ongoing continuing medical education (CME) offerings, which yield high-quality medical outcomes and exceptional patient care,” OGS president, Victor Jochem, MD, wrote in a letter to the committee chairman on Oct. 9, 2017. “Any activities that threaten the realization of these important baseline goals should not be tolerated. Unfortunately, MOC requirements have continued in recent years to evolve with redundant, expensive, and unverified testing requirements that have begun to negatively impact many practicing physicians, including gastroenterologists.”
Dr. Jochem then attended a House Committee hearing for HB 273 at the Statehouse on Oct. 11. He was joined by Carol Burke, MD, president of the ACG, and Christopher South, MD. Dr. Burke, representing ACG, and Dr. South, representing OGS, provided witness testimony to the committee during the hearing and fielded questions from the panel.
Drs. Burke and South urged the Health Committee to support HB 273, highlighting the lack of clinical relevance of MOC closed-book examinations, as well as the frustration and anger associated with MOC’s impact on the ability to practice medicine. Drs. Burke and South emphasized the difference between MOC versus the value and importance of initial board certification and continuing medical education and urged the committee to clarify such in the bill’s language.
“As the College is committed to physician demonstration of lifelong learning, not lifelong testing, we urge revisions in the bill’s language,” Dr. Burke told the committee. “Specifically, the bill includes continuing educational activities in the definition of ‘MOC.’ ACG instead urges the definition to focus on the periodic recertification, or maintenance requirements for a physician after the initial board certification.”
HB 273 is still in the early stages of the bill-making process, still needing committee and full House approval before being taken up for consideration by the Ohio Senate. The OGS will keep members alerted about developments related to the bill.
PHOTO: (L to R) Dr. Victor Jochem, Dr. Carol Burke, state Rep. Theresa Gavarone, and Dr. Christopher South on Oct. 11, 2017 following an Ohio House Health Committee hearing on HB 273, legislation sponsored by Rep. Gavarone. Drs. Burke and South testified in favor of the bill. Dr. Jochem wrote a letter to the committee in support of the bill.