Sunday, April 19, 2015

Dr. Wes

Dr. Wes:

'via Blog this'


Well, the SGR was finally repealed, even though it had never been used in the past 17 years. For those who have not read the fine print of H.R. 2, which formalizes the abandonment of the SGR, the new law includes several "trojan horses".  One is to enhance the conversion of fee for service reimbursment to a value based system (whatever that may mean). Secondly there is wording that includes codifying M.O.C. (maintenance of certification) into federal regulations (HHS)



This nugget of information federalizes  CME and creates another Gordian knot between state licensing boards, federal and specialty boards.


A Promising Week of Firsts
It was quite a week for America's practicing physicians.  For months the frustration over the lack of accountability of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program had been building.  Even anger, an emotion few physicians have time for, was mounting.


Then something wonderful happened.

Physicians stopped working for a moment and picked up the phone. For many, it was the first time they had ever called a Senator's office.  For others, the first time they had written one.



Here's a few examples from Twitter:

For US Senators in Washington DC (or their staffers), it was also the first time they had heard from front line working physicians rather than physician-lobbyists knocking on their door.  Weren't working physicians supposed to just be "excellent sheep?"

But there they were: a pediatrician calling over her lunch hour, a family practice doctor taking a few moments between patients, or a cardiac electrophysiologist ("What's that?" they asked) reading EKGs and calling.

From all over the country.

It was almost as if you could hear them asking, "Why are these doctors calling?  What do you mean there's an anti-trust suit pending?  I thought they wanted this SGR Reform! What is this MOC thing anyway?"

The reaction from Congressional staffers was surprising. They said that was the first time they were lobbied by physicians rather than lobbyists.


Practicing doctors might not have won the battle to stop the ABMS Maintenance of Certification program from being incorporated into our new health care law, or for parts of the program being used as a medical registry for physician reporting purposes in H.R. 2.  But the other night they won something much better: they learned that they weren't powerless.  They remembered that being  "accountable" for peoples' lives is very different than being "accountable" for dollars.



Thanks to all who raised a voice, wrote a letter, and took a stand against MOC.  I can't tell you how great it was to see so many physician nationwide come together so quickly to stake a stand on this remarkably divisive and corrupt program that extends, like a hydra, throughout our entire health care system.



We have have good reason to smile.

Congress and the public now know about it too.

-Wes

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