“Are ‘useless’ exams raising the cost of healthcare in Alabama?


Every year, across the nation, physicians are required to participate in the Continuing medical education program, advertised as a way to keep doctors up to date on new findings and treatments for various healthcare needs.

Although these requirements sound like a good idea; many doctors find that some of the tests add no value to themselves or their patients, and some believe they are contributing to the rise of healthcare costs.

One test that has come under fire lately is the Maintenance of Certification or MOC test. According to the Modern Medicine Network, “New York-based internist Jonathan Weiss, MD, says that until he and others pushed back, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) was adding more requirements for MOC and reducing the time intervals between them ‘every time I turned around.’ Not only that, but ‘at no point did I feel the material being asked of me was terribly germane to what I did on a day-to-day basis,’ he says. “The process is fatally and fundamentally flawed.”M

In Alabama, physicians are required to complete 25 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits or their equivalent every calendar year, in which the MOC tests are included.

But according to Niran Al-Agba and Meg Edison, both pediatricians and members of the Practicing Physicians of America board, MOC tests are not educative at all. “It is credentialization, not education. The tests don’t mirror real-world scenarios.They provide no educational value,” they told Fortune Magazine.

Not only do the tests provide no real world experience or education, but they are costly, and time consuming. According to The Hospitalist, the MOC program could cost “$5.7 billion in physicians’ time and fees over the next decade.

“We estimate that physicians will spend 33 million hours over 10 years to fulfill MOC requirements,” said Dr. Dhruv S. Kazi in the same report.

According to Al-Agba and Edison, limiting MOC requirements would help alleviate the growing physician shortage and save millions of physicians hours each year; time that should be spent on patients, not a board certification.