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ABMS Releases Statement Opposing Increase in Government Regulation of Physicians

The American Board of Medical Specialties, which represents 24 medical specialty certification boards in the United States including the American Board of Ophthalmology, released a statement this week in response to proposed legislation in Maryland that would restrict hospitals and health plans from setting quality standards for physicians using board certification.

The statement defends the value of independent, physician-led self-regulation, and champions the advanced knowledge, skills, and experience of ABMS board-certified physicians, including those active in Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The statement was issued following the publication of a letter from the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in response to Maryland State Delegate Dan K. Morhaim, MD.

In part, the ABMS statement reads: “ABMS is pleased that the DOJ letter encourages the Maryland legislature ‘to continue allowing hospitals and insurers independently to decide whether to consider a physician’s MOC status when making business decisions, such as granting hospital privileges’ and ABMS strongly agrees with the conclusion of the DOJ that enactment of the Maryland bill could ‘harm, not improve, the competitive landscape of healthcare in Maryland.’ ABMS applauds the recognition by the DOJ of the value to consumers and health systems of ‘certifying that a provider has demonstrated a certain level of training, testing, or experience over and above other providers.’”

The statement concludes that ABMS believes, “claims of Board certification should be based on transparent standards that will genuinely advance the interests of patients and avoid deception. We are confident that, when compared to any other specialty certification programs, ABMS Boards can clearly demonstrate the superiority of their certification programs in giving useful information to hospitals, payers, and patients.”

Click here for the full ABMS statement.

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