MOL Acceptability Survey Update

So I just got a reply yesterday from the Iowa Board of Medicine (IBM) regarding my inquiry about the results of the Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) Acceptability Survey, completed in late April. My message prompted them to publish a press release about the results, which they had available in June. They were kind enough to send me a pdf of the press release yesterday and it is available today on their website.

As you’ll discover, only 22% of Iowa physicians responded and well over half (57.8%) knew next to nothing about MOL, despite the availability of information about the initiative since 2011 on the IBM website. On the other hand, what’s encouraging is that the vast majority of doctors in Iowa are engaged in some form of continuing education and undoubtedly believe in the principle of lifelong learning. The most commonly reported methods for continuing professional development were CME conferences, reading the medical literature, and other CME programs.

Most of the respondents were practicing internists and family medicine providers. Almost 90% of the respondents reported they had ever been board certified and 73% were on track with Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. However, 11% of them weren’t sure if they were meeting MOC requirements.

The press release states that the IBM “…has not taken a position on the MOL initiative.”

I replied to the message from the IBM with 3 questions:

1. Can you tell me what the specific responses were (if any) to Question 31 (“Please provide any additional comments you might have that are related to this survey or to your overall thoughts about MOL.”)?

2. Can you tell me what the results were from the telephone interviews to doctors from the Getting Your Message Right public relations firm? I participated in that followup to the survey.

3. If the Iowa Board of Medicine is not taking a position on the MOL initiative, what is the incentive for participating in the MOL implementation projects at all?

I think it’s interesting that the IBM press release states that “Iowa is one of 11 state medical boards that have agreed to undertake projects and surveys to determine how competency assessments might be integrated in the licensure renewal process.”

It’s interesting because almost all 11 of the state medical societies in these states have adopted resolutions to support the principle of lifelong learning but oppose MOL–including Iowa.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

While it may be true that the IBM has not taken a position on MOL–I sure have and so have thousands of other physicians in this country. MOC slows me down and I think physicians need to be unfettered from time-wasting, expensive, non-evidence-based processes like MOC and MOL so that we can chase down excellence, not just competence.

I’m a busy psychiatric consultant in a big hospital. I’m running all over it every day and almost none of the so-called MOC performance in practice (PIP) “products” available to psychiatrists are relevant to my practice. How are MOC and MOL going to do anything for me except drop dust on my shoes?



  1. Please also see Iowa Medical Society comments on the survey and the acceptance of my Policy Request Statement to support the principle of lifelong learning and oppose MOL at


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