To the Editor:
A few observations about the American Board of Family Medicine’s maintenance of certification program:
I have taken the ABFM exam four times and I don’t feel it has ever made me a better physician. I, like many, continue to recertify out of fear that without it a hospital, insurance company or even Medicare will prevent me from continuing to take care of my patients.
Several of my contemporaries who are osteopathic family physicians have been grandfathered by their specialty board. Since their specialty board did not require recertification until several years ago, they will not have to take exams or do maintenance of certification to announce that they are board-certified family physicians. I am jealous.
The ABFM makes and enforces the rules and answers to no one. Often, organizations in this position justify their decisions by convincing themselves that they “know better” than the people who are affected by their actions. I have yet to see any scientific evidence that maintenance of certification will make us better physicians.
I recertified when I was 28, 35, 42 and 49, and I don’t think I have much choice except to adapt to MOC by the time I am 56. I hope to keep practicing for a long time, but don’t bet the rent that they will see me when I am 63.