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Gee...Doctors with Specialty Certification may face retesting to remain Certified.

Discussion in 'ME/CFS Doctors' started by JT1024, Apr 6, 2010.

  1. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

    Great News....

    Doctors face retesting in specialty areas
    Associated Press / April 6, 2010

    ATLANTA For the first time since leaving medical school, many doctors are having to take tests to renew board certification in their fields, 147 specialties from dermatology to obstetrics.

    Any doctor can deliver a baby, treat cancer, or advertise as a cardiologist. Certification means the doctor had special training in that field and passed an exam to prove knowledge of it.

    Doctors used to passed exams and be certified for life, but that changed in the 1990s. Doctors certified since then must retest every 6 to 10 years to prove their skills havent gone stale.

    For some specialists, like the doctors who push tubes into heart arteries to unclog blockages, this is the first year many are going through retesting.

    Older doctors also are feeling the heat. More than a quarter of a million of them were grandfathered with lifetime certificates, but are being urged to retest voluntarily to show they still know their stuff.

    Most dont want to do this. One who isnt grumbling is Dr. Stephen Mester, 52, a cardiologist at Brandon Regional Hospital in Brandon, Fla.

    I am choosing to renew. Its just an opportunity to maintain my skills and confirm to myself that I can do what Ive been trained to do, he said. Most of what I do today didnt exist, and some of it [was] not even thought of, when I was in medical school.
  2. Kati

    Kati Patient in training

    This is great news. I hope they get good ME/CFS/XMRV questions in each of their specialties. Because they are required to keep up to date.
  3. MEKoan

    MEKoan Senior Member

    It can be a very humbling experience. A friend of mine, an oncologist, who was trained at Cambridge, had to go through testing again to qualify to practice in Canada when he moved here. I forget how many tries to have to pass (maybe 3) but I do know that this illustrious doc. failed at least the first round.

    I think this is very good practice and is long overdue. Perhaps medicine is improving itself. Stranger things have happened, like those poor frogs with three legs.
  4. Hope123

    Hope123 Senior Member

    I don't know why this is considered news by the AP. This has been required for EVERY specialist and even some non-specialist docs for many years in the US. Family docs have to recertify every 7 years, general internal med every 10 years.

    Essentially anyone who got their certification since 1990 -- so the first wave of recertification happened in the late 1990s. There are some new specialties like adolescent medicine which became a specialty relatively later so it might be that now is the first wave.

    Now there are some private practitioners who don't re-certify and you can ask them about it. "Are you board-certified?" But many insurance companies, academic institutions, governmental clinics, etc. require certification.

    I'd also remind people that health care folks (whether docs, nurses, pharmacists, etc.) are required to have a certain number of continuing medical education hours every year to maintain their license. Sure people need to be educated more about ME/CFS and updated about other medical topics, but it's not as laissez faire as the article makes it out to be.
  5. JT1024

    JT1024 Senior Member

    Hi Hope,

    I think the reason this article is considered "news" is because anyone who is not in the healthcare profession (like patients) may not be aware of what is required for physician licensing and specialty/board certification.

    When a patient goes to the office, s(he) may see a framed document stating that their physician was board certified at a particular date. That does not mean that the physician has maintained their certification. Many patients are not even aware that board certification is an important thing to consider when selecting a provider.

    As you mentioned, the specialty boards require recertification to stay certified. It appears different specialties have had different recertification requirements.

    Below is an excerpt from the American Board of Thoracic Surgery recertification requirements. It appears that a grandfather clause was still effect until 2008 allowing surgeons to be Diplomates without taking recertification exams.

    Starting in January 2008, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) replaced its Recertification process with Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process. MOC is intended to give the public assurance that certified specialty physicians are maintaining high standards of clinical care throughout their career. For that reason, the Board requires that all Diplomates, including those who were certified before 1976 and hold life-time certificates, participate in MOC. The only exception is for those Diplomates who have notified the Board of their retirement and/or disability.

    Many people I know that are not in the medical field are not aware of the importance of board certification. The more people and patients that are made aware, the better.

    I'm thankful that I have access to tremendous resources and have many years of healthcare education and experience. Not everyone is that fortunate.

    ~ JT

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