Getting Small As MOC Reform Looms Large

Nigella and me
Nigella and me

I had to walk Nigella (our official psychiatry consultation service mascot) yesterday and ended up replacing her at the gift shop. Although it doesn’t cost anything to get her filled up with helium, it’s kind of a nuisance to do it once a week.

However, the slow leak gave us an opportunity to get small because one of us would have to walk her across the hospital to the gift shop–in full view of a lot of people. I don’t mean getting small in the sense that comedian Steve Martin used it in the ’70s–getting high. I mean it in the sense of shrinking the ego, as a reminder not to take ourselves too seriously.

I typically can take myself too seriously about a number of issues in clinical medicine these days, especially the Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

I’ve contacted Dr. Paul Mathew, a Harvard neurologist who has begun a spirited and constructive effort to reform MOC by requesting that the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) remove the controversial Self-Assessment and Performance in Practice (PIP) modules.

Dr. Mathew has well over 850 signatures on the petition and is committed to a letter-writing campaign, the underlying principle of which is supported by the American Academy of Neurologists (AAN).

I’m urging every doctor who is now groaning under the burden of MOC to sign Paul’s petition and to also contact their hospital credentialing committees to consider adding the newly launched National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) as an alternative to ABPN.

I’ve reached out to the leadership of the Academy of Psychosomatic Medicine (APM) to support this effort and I’ve contacted leaders in our hospital as well, using my article on the basics of MOC, TCPR May 2013 and the powerpoint slideset from NBPAS, which you can view below.

Could it be a Pecha Kucha? I doubt it, but it’s a beginning to a conversation…probably a difficult conversation. It’s a direct way to engage in constructive activism about an issue, which I think is probably healthier overall than just complaining about it. I think I’m being mindful about it in that I’m aware my efforts are unlikely to change the situation substantially. But change will occur eventually, maybe not when I would like it and maybe not in the way I would particularly like. But we’re all going to move on.

As usual, in order to see the picture galleries of photos or powerpoint slides, click on one of the slides, which will open up the presentation to fill the screen. Use the arrow buttons to scroll left and right through the slides or up and down to view any annotations.