Oklahoma physicians no longer need maintenance of certification for licensure, privileges: 5 things to know

Oklahoma recently became the first state to remove maintenance of certification requirements for physicians, according to a Medscape report.

There are similar laws in other states moving up the legislature, challenging the American Board of Medical Specialties' MOC program. Those against MOC — including internists as the biggest critics — feel the requirement "wastes their time and money and does little to nothing to improve their patient-care abilities."

Here are five things to know:

1. In the face of criticism, the American Board of Medical Specialties is open to reforms but continues to promote the MOC program as a basis for "lifelong learning." Only physicians who obtained board certification after 1990 are required to abide by the MOC program.

2. The Oklahoma law is an attempt to allow physicians to obtain hospital privileges without the MOC program, so physicians can become employed without it. However, hospitals could require MOC before admitting privileges, but in that case physicians could challenge the requirement as interference with their ability to practice medicine.

3. The ABMS feels hospitals should have the right to use the MOC as part of their credentialing process; the organization revamped the MOC process in response to criticism with some positive feedback from physicians.

4. While Oklahoma was the first state to repeal the requirement, Kentucky's governor signed a more limited measure focused on the MOC's requirement for licensure and Michigan legislators are considering an even tougher version of the Oklahoma law. The potential Michigan law wouldn't allow hospitals to deny admitting privileges just based on MOC.

5. It's unclear how the new law will change the landscape for Oklahoma physicians.

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