American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting
American College of Gastroenterology Annual Meeting
October 16, 2017
2 min read

ACG President: We are ‘moving the needle’ on MOC

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Carol Burke, MD
Carol Burke

ORLANDO — With the inception of a Maintenance of Certification Taskforce upon the start of her term, ACG is ‘moving the needle’ at the state and federal level to reduce the ‘impact and intrusion’ of the program on daily practice, according to the ACG president during her address to the World Congress of Gastroenterology at ACG 2017.

“In our meetings with both Democratic and Republican house leadership in their U.S. capital office, we delivered an essential message on MOC: sharing your frustration over the unnecessary burdens of lifelong testing coupled with other activities required to maintain board certification,” Carol Burke, MD, vice chair, department of gastroenterology and hepatology, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, said during her address.

Burke explained she and other Taskforce members equated MOC to taking a state bar exam every 2, 3 or 4 years in addition to additional educational requirements to maintain licensure to practice law.

“I can say it did resonate,” she said, to applause.

Burke acknowledged that MOC is largely a state-level issue, but federal officials need to be aware of the hurdles as well.

“ACG believes that the top Congressional leadership needs to comprehend the full spectrum of challenges facing physicians in their day-to-day practice, which includes the cost, practice implications and lack of evidence to support the ABIM program of MOC,” she said.

There is a dearth of independent data to support the implementation of MOC in its current form, she said.

“We feel the indirect and direct costs are unacceptable. The process is expensive, redundant, burdensome and contributes to physician burnout, which is at an all-time high,” Burke said.

Burke reiterated the principles on which ACG stands for improvement of MOC:

  • MOC needs to be simpler, less intrusive and less expensive.
  • The high-stakes every-10-year examination should end.
  • Closed-book assessments should be abolished. They do not represent the current realities of medicine in the digital age.
  • For many diplomates who specialize within certain areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, MOC should not include the high stakes assessments of areas in which the diplomates may not practice.
  • Lifelong learning should be maintained through ongoing CME activities rather than lifelong testing.

“We are really moving the needle forward through state legislative efforts while working on potential alternative assessment models which more accurately reflect the fund of medical knowledge required by medical practitioners today,” Burke said.

There is ongoing state-level legislation regarding MOC in 20 states, she said. Twelve have passed legislation and eight are pending.

“It’s long overdue for physicians to stand up, join together and advocate for professional and practice activities that are important to the quality and value of the care we provide to our patients,” Burke said. “I encourage all of you to educate your state and medical societies and legislators on the impact, cost and burden of MOC and how legislative action may decrease the burden our practice.” – by Katrina Altersitz

Reference: Burke C. Presidential Address. Presented at: World Congress of Gastroenterology at American College of Gastroenterology Annual Scientific Meeting; Oct. 13-18, 2017; Orlando, FL.

Disclosure: Burke reports no relevant financial disclosures.