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Physician Leaders Address Maintenance of Certification, Call for Financial Transparency from ABIM

At the Interim Meeting of the American Medical Association House of Delegates (AMA HOD) on Nov. 12-15, 2016, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) continued its role as a national leader in the fight to ensure a fairer Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process for all physicians. PAMED called for financial transparency by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and AMA policy related to MOC that addresses issues of significant and continuing concern to physicians.

A PAMED-sponsored resolution, adopted by the AMA HOD, concerned the issue of ABIM financial transparency. Physicians from across the nation agreed that the AMA should advocate on behalf of physicians and ask the ABIM if an independent outside organization would be allowed to conduct an open audit of the ABIM and its Foundation.

In addition to seeking a formal and rapid reply from the ABIM, the newly adopted policy asks the AMA to share the response with the membership of the AMA. During debate, PAMED Immediate Past President, Scott Shapiro, MD, argued that this level of financial transparency was needed by the physician stakeholders who pay for ABIM services and that the AMA was the appropriate entity to initiate the request to the ABIM. 

Before the final language was approved, a friendly amendment offered by physicians from Ohio broadened the scope of AMA policy by directing that the AMA call on the American Board of Medical Specialties and its component specialty boards to provide similar financial transparency to their diplomate physicians. 

As the recognized national leader in addressing physician concerns about MOC, PAMED will continue to engage as necessary to ensure that movement toward financial transparency is initiated.

Additional Action on MOC at the AMA Interim Meeting

In a later action, the AMA HOD established new policy on MOC that opposes the use of MOC for privileging, re-credentialing, state medical licensure, or insurance panel participation. It also called for continued advocacy efforts related to existing policy that opposes MOC as a standard for medical staff membership and state medical licensure. 

The AMA HOD also adopted new policy directing action to "develop alternative and more accurate methods to determine ongoing clinical competency." 

PAMED member Martin Trichtinger, MD, chaired the reference committee addressing the MOC and clinical competency issues.

"MOC is meant to be an ongoing life-long educational process for physicians to enhance skills and knowledge," said Dr. Trichtinger. "My reference committee addressed the misuse of MOC for things like privileging and re-credentialing, procedures for which MOC was never intended."

More Resources

The PAMED-sponsored resolution concerning ABIM financial transparency stemmed from a vote by physician delegates at PAMED's House of Delegates (HOD) meeting in Hershey held on Oct. 22-23, 2016. Physicians from across the commonwealth approved a resolution to petition the AMA to analyze the finances of the ABIM. PAMED delegates at the October meeting also voted to adopt a position favoring the acknowledgement of an alternative board, such as the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS).

Find out more about other actions taken at PAMED's 2016 HOD meeting here. And, learn about PAMED's advocacy efforts and leadership concerning MOC at

For more information about the 2016 AMA Interim Meeting, visit the AMA's website here.

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