My Letter to 2014 American Psychiatric Association Candidates

American Psychiatric Association (APA) annual elections are coming up and I have asked a couple of candidates for President-Elect their views on the Maintenance of Certification (MOC). I’m encouraging everyone who is a member of APA to get involved and ask candidates seeking leadership position within APA what role they think APA should have regarding MOC and it’s second cousin, Maintenance of Licensure (MOL).

This is still important even though many think MOC is a done deal and psychiatrists should just drop the issue. There are psychiatrists in shortage areas who are being challenged by insurance carriers who threaten to remove them from provider panels unless they participate in MOC. This kind of confrontation about a process that has never been proven to change patient outcomes now threatens access to psychiatric care…because some psychiatrists may take a stand and refuse to participate in MOC. What will insurance carriers do in response to this? A similar issue led to the filing of a lawsuit in Federal court in April 2013 by the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS) against the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) regarding MOC: AAPS Takes MOC to Court.

Below is my comment to an APA candidate on LinkedIn. If any of you out there are interested in knowing the reply, you need to register free to see it:

Thank you for considering my questions, and for seeking a leadership role in APA.

I support the principle of lifelong learning and I’m one of the managers for a new LinkedIn interest group, Psychiatry Online Lifelong Learning (POLL). There’s a discussion there on Maintenance of Certification (MOC) as well as here in the APA group.

I know that many members probably believe that the MOC is a fait accompli. It’s embedded in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) connected with CMS incentive payments with penalties for non-participation in MOC on the horizon in the coming year. The ABMS period for public commentary on new standards for MOC ended November 20, 2013, and it looks like they essentially shifted responsibility to the ABPN for operationalizing the standards. The ABPN will decide on approving MOC products on self-assessment, performance in practice, and CME in 2014.

I participate in MOC. I sponsored a resolution to oppose Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) in Iowa, which was adopted in April 2013 by the Iowa Medical Society House of Delegates. It was co-sponsored by the Iowa Psychiatric Society.

As a candidate for APA President-Elect in 2014, would you be willing to share any ideas you have on the role of the APA with respect to MOC?

Does APA have any influence on the structure and processes of MOC?

Does APA in general support MOC as is? What is your position?

Given the low likelihood that MOC will go away, do you have any specific plans on how to reform it so as to make it more relevant to our practices and less burdensome?


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