EDITOR'S NOTE: On Wednesday, May 24, the Michigan House of Representatives Health Policy Committee heard testimony on two Maintenance of Certification (MOC) bills, created by the Michigan State Medical Society (MSMS). MSMS was well represented with physicians testifying in support of HBs 4134 and 4135. Introduced by Representative Edward 'Ned' Canfield, DO, testimony was given by Megan Edison, MD; Martin Dubravec, MD; and Bruce Wolf, DO, with written testimony submitted by John Vassallo, MD, and Harold Moores, MD.
Read the testimony of Representative Edward 'Ned' Canfield, DO >>
Megan Edison, MD – State Legislatures Wade Into MOC Debate >>
Megan Edision, MD – Open Letter to the American Board of Pediatrics >>
Read the testimony of Bruce Wolf, DO >>
Read the written testimony by John Vassallo, MD >>
Read the written testimony from Harold Moores, MD >>
Below is an article which published in MIRS News on May 24, 2017. For more on MIRS News, please visit http://mirsnews.com.
Fight Over Certifications Contributing To Physician Shortage, Canfield Says
There is a fight brewing in the medical field over the issue of maintenance of certification (MOC). And Rep. Edward CANFIELD (R-Sebewaing) told the House Health Policy Committee today that doctors are leaving the state because of it, some are retiring early, and that is contributing to a growing shortage of physicians in the state of Michigan.
"The problem puts at risk the lives of Michigan citizens," he contended.
Canfield has sponsored HB 4134 and HB 4135, which state that a physician does not need a national or regional certification to get a medical license and that insurance companies cannot refuse to pay or reimburse a claim based on the lack of that certification. They are a reintroduction of bills that did not pass last term (See "Board Re-Certification Not Necessary, Physicians Argued In Committee," 5/17/16).
Canfield contended that doctors go through years of training and education to earn their degrees and get their licenses. And doctors are already required to take continuing education. But in addition, the boards of certification programs have decided to require retesting of the physicians every few years.
He said he believes there is no value to those MOC tests. Studies have not shown that testing results in higher skills or better patient care, he contended.
Dr. Meg EDISON, a pediatric physician from Wyoming, Mich., told the committee about her battles with the American Board of Pediatrics. She enrolled, paid $1,000 and completed all educational requirements in 2010, and did that again in 2013 and 2015.
"When I was threatened with loss of certification if I didn't give another $1,300, I finally had enough," she said in testimony. "The fact that the ABP can completely strip qualified and competent pediatricians of board certification for not paying more money is further evidence that MOC is all about money."
She said that when she stood by her determination not to pay, Blue Cross/Blue Shield sent letters to her patients that they would be moved to another doctor. She said Blue Cross told her it would not pay for services to patients without the certification and she finally had to cave in.
Dr. Martin DUBRAVEC, from Cadillac, supported her claim.
"In recent years, unregulated private organizations that I believe are masquerading as quality assurance companies have infiltrated the practice of Medicine," Dubravec said. "The largest of these organizations is the American Board of Medical Specialties. They have promoted labels such as board certification and now maintenance of certification. It should be noted these organizations are not authorized by any state or federal authority to exist. Nonetheless, they have inserted themselves to the point where fully-licensed physicians in the state of Michigan cannot practice unless they purchase thousands of dollars of products from them."
Rep. Winnie BRINKS (D-Grand Rapids) asked why a legislative solution was needed. She contended that it was an issue that should be worked out between physicians and the insurance companies.
Kristen KRAFT, the director of state relations for Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan, told the committee she opposes the bills. She contended that the legislature shouldn't take action on the bills until a more meaningful way to measure quality standards can be found.
Blue Cross supports lifelong learning for doctors, she said.