The problem is that if these bills become law, physicians will have delegated regulation to legislatures. Basically, physicians are saying they need legislative help to throw off certification requirements. It will only be a matter of time before legislatures will realize that there has to be some quality measure of medical practice and that since the certifying boards are no longer part of that process, government will have to develop its own standards and measures. This may seem far-fetched, but I can easily see a family member of a prominent legislator injured or killed in a medical misadventure which will result in the development of a government-led standard setting and measurement process to fill the void left by the absence of physician self-regulation. And, given our experience with government medical programs, it will be rigid regulations with lots of red tape that will be much worse than board certification and MOC as they currently exist.
It is time for all physicians to work together to ensure we don’t lose our professional self-regulation. The certifying boards are working hard to maintain that concept, and it is much wiser to work with the boards to improve certification and MOC rather than destroy them.
Robert H. Miller, MD
Executive Director, American Board of Otolaryngology