OSMA Announces Position on HB 273/Maintenance of Certification

Our President's Letter from October 9, 2017:

Dear OSMA Members:

The Ohio State Medical Association (OSMA) has historically supported lifelong learning opportunities for physicians in the pursuit of quality healthcare outcomes, assuring patient safety, and improving the practice of medicine. When obstacles to these goals have been raised, the OSMA has repeatedly stood at the forefront to successfully advocate on behalf of your profession.

Several years ago, the OSMA and the House of Medicine in Ohio stood firm against the State Medical Board’s attempt to impose Maintenance of Licensure (MOL) requirements. Though MOL is behind us, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) continues to be a contentious issue between many physicians and their professional certification boards. I am writing you today to share new information regarding MOC developments and what the OSMA is doing to address them.

Physicians in Ohio and across the country have rightfully questioned the value of lengthy and financially-imposing current MOC processes as a meaningful tool to measure continuing competency, especially given the lack of evidence to support its relationship to the quality of care. Some national boards have acknowledged the concerns of physicians and have begun to make changes for their specialties. However, that is not the case for all physicians, many of whom continue to find the MOC processes for their specialties onerous and unnecessary.

In June, our OSMA staff attended the CEO meeting at the American Medical Association (AMA) Annual Meeting in Chicago. MOC was discussed at length in various forums. Leaders from national specialty societies and state medical associations had a follow up conversation on this topic in July. The result of this collaboration was a joint letter from many state medical societies (including the OSMA) and several specialty societies to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) requesting a meeting and a process for discussing the many issues surrounding MOC. The result of this effort is a meeting December 4th in Chicago with national medical societies, state associations and boards. I will be attending this meeting along with our General Counsel, Nancy Gillette, on behalf of the OSMA to advocate for our members.

Meanwhile, the OSMA has also been involved in addressing MOC concerns at the state-level. Earlier this summer, House Bill 273 was introduced, making our state just the latest to address issues related to using MOC for licensure, privileges or health insurance contracting. A dozen states have implemented laws addressing this issue and eight states - including Ohio - have legislation pending. Ohio’s bill calls for preventing MOC to be used as a condition for licensure, hospital privileges or insurance contracts. The OSMA has policy denouncing the use of MOC as a requirement for licensure and employment.

Because the legislature was on summer break HB 273 is just now beginning its legislative journey. This past Wednesday the OSMA Council met to formulate our organization’s official position on HB 273 moving forward. The Council reviewed current OSMA policy, feedback from state specialty and county societies and discussions from our Focus Task Force on State Legislation. After lengthy discussion, the Council voted to support HB 273. The OSMA will be testifying at the next scheduled House Health Committee hearing on this bill (October 11th). The testimony will state the organization’s support for the bill and potentially recommend some minor technical changes none of which will change the original intent of the bill.

Thank you for your continued support of the OSMA. We will be certain to keep you apprised of MOC developments in Ohio and elsewhere. In the meantime, if you have any questions please contact me or the OSMA’s CEO Todd Baker at (614) 527-6762 or tbaker@osma.org.

Kind Regards,

Ohio State Medical Association