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Study: Physicians Who Participate in MOC Are Less Likely to Face Disciplinary Action

June 29, 2018

Physicians who pass the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination given by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) within 10 years of becoming Board Certified are more than two times less likely to face state medical board disciplinary actions than those who do not pass the exam, according to a recent study published online by the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
 

ABIM researchers studied MOC exam results and any reported disciplinary actions for nearly 48,000 general internists who became Board Certified between 1990 and 2003. Approximately two percent of the population (949 internists) was disciplined during the study period.

Findings showed that: 

  • The risk of disciplinary action against physicians declines as scores on the MOC exam increase.

  • The percentage of total disciplinary actions in this population that is associated with not having passed ABIM’s MOC exam is 35 percent.

  • Not having passed ABIM’s MOC exam is associated with more severe disciplinary actions.

  • There was no difference in disciplinary rates associated with the amount of continuing medical education required for state medical licensure, suggesting that completing continuing medical education alone in the amounts required for state licensure does not reduce the risk of disciplinary actions.

  • Researchers estimated that the number of patients potentially cared for by physicians with disciplinary actions could total hundreds of thousands to several million. 

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