Continuing Certification Research
Published: Association of participation in the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Maintenance of Certification Program and physician disciplinary actions
Summary by Carolyn L. Kinney, MD
The ABPMR Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program is a process of lifelong learning, self-assessment, practice improvement, and knowledge assessment that has been in place for over twenty years. One outcome metric of the MOC Program that is of value to the public and other stakeholders is the relationship of board certification to the incidence of physician disciplinary actions (DAs) by state medical boards. These DAs reflect violations in practice, professional, and/or ethical standards that can negatively impact patient care and outcomes. This study investigated the relationship of participation and performance in the ABPMR MOC Program with the incidence of physician DAs by state medical boards. We retrospectively reviewed the certification status and MOC Examination performance of 4,794 de-identified ABPMR diplomates participating in the MOC Program between 1993 and 2017. These data were matched with records of DAs routinely reported through the Federation of State Medical Boards.
The results showed that physicians who have a lapse in certification due to non-completion of ABPMR MOC Program requirements have a 2.5-times higher incidence of receiving a DA report (p < 0.0001; 95% CI 1.76-3.63) and had greater severity violations than physicians whose certificates never lapsed. In addition, low performance on the MOC Examination was associated with increased risk for receiving a DA. Physicians in the lowest-scoring quartile were 5.26 times more likely to have a DA than physicians scoring in the first quartile (p < 0.0001; 95% CI 2.44-11.33).
The study demonstrated a significant association between lapses in ABPMR MOC Program participation and the risk of receiving a DA. MOC Program participation is one measure of physician professionalism that is meaningful and available to the public.
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Kinney CL, Raddatz MM, Sliwa JA, Driscoll SW, Robinson LR. Association of participation in the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Maintenance of Certification Program and physician disciplinary actions. American Journal of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation. 2019. doi: 10.1097/PHM.0000000000001331