Passionate physicians, many of whom question specialty boards' financial interests and regulatory power, have organized state-based campaigns to minimize the role recertification plays in licensing, payment, and employment or admitting privileges. These advocates firmly believe that initial board certification and continuing medical education ensure that doctors stay current and competent.
Responding to physicians' data-driven arguments, including a December 2014 JAMA study showing MOC programs do not improve patient outcomes, state legislators proposed several new laws in 2016.
Kentucky lawmakers approved a measure to "prohibit the Board of Medical Licensure from requiring any maintenance of certification and related continuing education requirements for licensure as a physician." Governor Matt Bevin (R) signed the bill April 8 (Senate Bill 17). Similarly, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R) OK’d legislation April 12 to prohibit "the State Board of Physicians from establishing a continuing education requirement that every licensed physician complete a specific course or program as a condition to the renewal of a license" (House Bill 185).
Several bills currently being considered by legislators in Missouri seek the same goal. Two measures advancing through the legislative process were introduced by members who understand this issue first-hand. Senator Bob Onder, MD (R), is board certified in allergy and immunology and internal medicine (official website; campaign website). Elected by his peers to serve as Assistant Majority Floor Leader in his first year in office, Senator Onder's bill declares that the "state shall not require… any form of specialty medical board certification to practice medicine within the state" (Senate Bill 772). The proposal is nearing approval in the Senate, after which the House of Representatives will take it up. Prospects for favorable consideration in the House are very good because an even more substantive "Medical Practice Freedom" bill is on the verge of becoming law.
Representative Keith Frederick, DO (R), a practicing orthopedic surgeon in Missouri, introduced legislation that is, in part, based on an AACU State Society Network Proactive Campaign (official website; personal website). The original language proposed that licensure of physicians could not be conditioned upon participation in any public or private health insurance (House Bill 1682). In addition to these third-party payer provisions, the bill was later amended to remove the long-standing requirement that a person seeking a license be certified in the applicant's area of specialty. After being approved by both chambers of the legislature, as of this writing, the measure awaits House concurrence with Senate amendments.