MOL in Iowa and the Physician Acceptability Survey: Answer Question 31

Well, I was surprised yesterday because I actually had an opportunity to talk with the Executive Director of the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM), Mark Bowden. We talked for over half an hour. I found out that the medical licensure compact is about interstate compacts for medical licensure, which the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) is exploring. Read more about it here. Also see the board’s report about that and the Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) physician survey.

The hot button issue is the MOL pilot project, specifically the Physician Acceptability Survey update.  Bowden reiterated that the board has not taken a formal position on whether or not to adopt MOL in Iowa. The MOL is being perpetrated, I mean sponsored, by the FSMB, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME).

I think the name “Physician Acceptability Survey” is an interesting name for this survey, which will go out to about 6600 physicians (not all live in Iowa but hold Iowa licenses) and will have 31 questions mainly inquiring about such things as the kinds of continuing education activities physicians engage in, the value placed on them, and board certification status. I’m betting that there is nothing “acceptable” about the MOL to most Iowa doctors.

The Physician Acceptability Survey (PAS) will be an online instrument and Mark expects that it will be distributed in about the next two weeks and hopefully will generate at least a 20% return rate. It should take only about 15 minutes to complete. It will run from from about mid-March to mid-April. Licensees will receive a letter first followed later by an email link to the survey. The PAS was developed by the FSMB and has been completed in Colorado and Virginia already.

I highly recommend physicians pay close attention to Question 31 which asks for “additional comments about MOL.” This will be the only opportunity on the PAS for rank and file doctors to express their opinions about MOL and whether we think it’s right for Iowa.

Bowden also asked me if I would be interested in being part of a panel of between 10-20 physicians with whom the MOL committee would conduct personal interviews, seeking further details about our opinions about MOL. These would be conducted in late April. I suppose it’s somewhat ironic that I’ll be taking my recertification exam in Psychosomatic Medicine around that time.

I hope I didn’t sound too eager, but of course I volunteered. I think it’s vitally important that Iowa physicians let the FSMB know exactly whether MOL would be welcome in Iowa. I have told the IBM in no uncertain terms that I think MOL would be bad for Iowa because Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and MOL generally are controversial at best in the opinions of many thousands of physicians. I think it would hurt recruitment of physicians to Iowa as well as retention of doctors trained in our state, which currently stands at about 68%, according to Bowden.

A report on the PAS results will be made to the Iowa Board of Medicine at the regular meeting during June 5-6, 2014. Those results will be available to the public. Bowden was clear that it’s up to state boards to decide whether MOL will be implemented. He expects that the FSMB will make recommendations and support boards’ efforts to ensure physicians are engaged in lifelong learning, but that it cannot compel member boards to adopt MOL.

I did not get the impression that MOL would become a part of medical licensure in Iowa.

Still, Iowa physicians must complete the PAS and answer Question 31. It’s as close to a vote as we’re likely to get. I’m also urging Iowa physicians to volunteer to be interviewed by the MOC committee. In fact, I suggest that hundreds of physicians contact the IBM and volunteer for this task to ensure that all views pro and con about MOL be adequately represented.

Answer Question 31. If you have to ask me why, then you need to read all my posts about MOC and MOL. Get busy.

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