WASHINGTON, D.C. – If there ever was a solid example of mission creep, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) programs for physicians have set a new standard. Overnight, all 24 medical specialties of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) as well as some of the medical specialty boards of the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), voted yes to require repeating residency as a maintenance requirement for certification.
“It just had to be added,” stated ABMS President, Dr. Lois Nora.
“Our recent studies indicate that peak medical knowledge occurs immediately following completion of residency. It logically makes sense to require repeating residency as a way to maintain and hone those important coding skills.”
“We have proven in low quality observational studies with financial conflicts of interest that quality of care improves and most importantly, Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements are increased with MOC.”
The ABMS plan will require medical specialty boards to have MOC diplomats repeat residencies within 10 years of initially becoming board certified. The board does recognize that not all residencies are created equal with some such as neurosurgery lasting 7 years.
“We have placed a cap of 3 years for the residency recertification process for all residencies,” stated Nora. “It is impractical to force more than 3 years of a repeat residency in a 10 year re-certification process, that just doesn’t make sense.”
As one could guess, physicians older than 45 will be grandfathered in and will not be required to repeat residency.
Salary is guaranteed to remain the same as one’s salary before restarting residency for the 3 year recertification, but similar to the CME and simulation fees, hefty attending status rates will be required to repeat the residency with some estimating that diplomats will need to shell out $50,000 a year to sign up.
“And I thought the mandatory lifetime learning and self-assessment CME, QI projects, and tedious simulations were bad enough,” said Dr. Fran Myerton, a practicing cardiologist. “This new repeat residency requirement makes all that prior nonsense seem much easier to swallow. Please just go back to those requirements and we will all shut up!”
Dr. Jim Lance, a board certified pediatrician, is surprisingly looking forward to returning back to residency. “With all the recent work hour restrictions and mandatory naptime, I calculated that I will actually be working less hours in residency versus as an attending in my clinic. I’ll take the paycut! Plus I heard I can write it off on my taxes which should help.”
With the new repeat residency requirement just passing, members are now looking forward to possibly requiring a 6-month fellowship in ICD-10 and coding skills to tack on at the end of residency to assist in maximal reimbursements for hospitals and billing agencies.
“We could be looking to hire physicians as full time transcriptionists in the near future,” said a hospital spokesman. “For doctors that don’t ever want to see patients, this could be a lucrative and growing field to explore.”