Should you maintain board certification if you switch to a nonclinical career? Are there more relevant or less burdensome alternatives to the requirements of your primary board certifying body? These are common questions from many physicians, in clinical and nonclinical careers. Today, get ready to learn about the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) – a non-profit, physician-led organization providing a pathway for continuous specialty and subspecialty certification.

In this episode of The Career Rx we’ll discuss:

  • NBPAS – an independent certifying organization, distinct from the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)
  • Does NBPAS meet national accreditation requirements for your hospital and health insurance plans?
  • FAQ about CME, exams, clinical hours, international medical graduates, and whether NBPAS might be right for you

Today’s guests are
Karen Schatten, Associate Director at NBPAS, and Dr. Karen Sibert, Physician Advisory Board Member at NBPAS. They give me the download on NBPAS – why it was founded, how it is run, and what they view as key benefits that differentiate NBPAS as a pathway for continuous certification. This episode will be relevant to all physicians who are interested in maintaining certification via an evidence based, specialty specific, and highly relevant pathway – one that may also be more streamlined and less financially burdensome.

In this Episode:

[1:50] Overview of NPBAS with Dr. Karen Sibert and Ms. Karen Schatten
[7:20] Breaking the maintenance of certification monopoly
[11:36] Streamlined, specialty specific, evidence-based approach
[14:20] Do traditional requirements contribute to burnout?
[20:00] The ‘big business’ of board certification
[27:40] Physician self-advocacy in maintaining excellence and expertise
[30:00] Clinical credentialing vs board certification – a key note for nonclinical doctors
[35:00] Clarifications about maintenance of certification vs primary board certification
[38:12] How to find out more about NPBAS

Please note: the information and opinions expressed in this interview are those of the guest speakers and do not necessarily reflect the views of the host, nor any of the host’s affiliated entities.

Links and Resources:

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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 118 – Continuous Certification via the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS)

I am really thrilled to have guests on the program with me today from the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons, which is an organization that you may not be familiar with. I have Karen Schatten, the Associate Director at the NBPAS. And I have Dr. Karen Sibert, who is an anesthesiologist, also associated with the NBPAS.

My podcast is about career development, and often about non traditional career paths. And a lot of times the questions that I get from people are about whether or not it is important to maintain their board certification, or at what point if you you know, the more senior you get in even academics and clinical but also in other leadership outside of clinical medicine, where you might take a role with a medical device company or with pharma or elsewhere, the more people move up and move out, the less actual clinical care they are doing.

And so a lot of people come to a crossroads where they’re wondering, should I maintain my board certification? And yeah, when you become a leader that’s often held in very high esteem, people want to have their physician leaders be board certified. So that’s how this has come up for me.

Maybe I could ask you, Dr. Sibert, to start with your association with that organization and to tell us a little bit about it.

Certainly, well, first of all, it is an entirely physician driven organization. The Board of Directors, of which I’m a member, is all physician, and completely unpaid, voluntary. We get nothing out of this, except the satisfaction of knowing that we’re working on behalf of a really good cause.

So as opposed to the boards, which compensate all of their staff and their, you know, everything to the tune of millions of dollars. We are a nonprofit organization, we are not not trying to do anything other than offer people a path to demonstrating that they are continuing their medical education in a responsible, self directed and evidence driven way.

At a very modest cost. I believe it’s currently 72% less than standard maintenance of certification.

That’s fantastic. Thank you for that.

And Karen, anything that you’d like to add about your role with the organization, or just to sort of orient us a little bit? Sure. Well, I serve as you mentioned, I serve as the associate director and one of my, you know, primary roles is I always say it’s outward facing.

So I’m looking out into the national landscape of healthcare, which, as anyone who works in healthcare knows, is a really complex beast. And I, you know, we want the National Board of physicians and surgeons to be an option for any physician who’s interested in certifying with us.

And we have steadily been, as Dr. Sibert mentioned, been growing and making incredible progress, especially in the last 12 to 18 months through some really landmark marks of progress. And so my job is to sort of identify what obstacles might be in our way, and work to make sure that those are removed so that it’s a reasonable choice for any physician in the United States.

I think this is just so very interesting. I’ll tell you and the audience a little bit about why I’ve asked you to come on the show. And then we can talk. You can satisfy my curiosity and then you can tell me what kinds of questions come to you.

But you know, as listeners of this podcast know, a lot of folks who are listening are really interested in their career advancement. And oftentimes, that includes less direct clinical care, either moving up in academics or education, were sometimes moving into that more broad healthcare landscape, in medical device or pharmaceutical industry or regulatory bodies like FDA.

But board certification is still really seen as a requisite and an important part of a physician’s credibility. And yet, when you’re doing less care, or you’re less involved in an academic center, maintaining that becomes a little harder, it’s less automatic, you can’t just show up for Grand Rounds and have that sort of provided to you in that way and also becomes so expensive, expensive and time consuming.

So people have asked me oftentimes at what point do you decide to not bother to get recertified? You know, where in your career does it make sense to not worry anymore about either active licensure or board certification? And so because that question comes up, I obviously don’t have a one size fits all answer to that question.

But because that one comes up, it occurred to me probably most people, myself included until quite recently. Also don’t even know that there are more than one way to maintain In a certification or that there’s an alternative to their primary certifying bodies.

So when they think about the required activities and the required costs and timelines of their original certification, I bet they have no idea that there’s something that might be quite different. And so maybe you can spend a little time telling us in what ways we both have already alluded to the cost, in what ways is it different,

I’d be happy to talk about that. The fact is, nobody can ever take your board certification away from you. Once you board certified, you passed a rigorous set of examinations and demonstrated sufficient clinical experience in your residency and a whole host of other requirements that we support 100%.

We’re not telling anybody that they shouldn’t get board certified. In fact, we require board certification as a prerequisite for getting recertified through NBPAS, which is how we usually refer to the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons. So if somebody doesn’t want to get board certified at all, we’re not an option.

I personally found the initial board certification process to be tremendously valuable. It really, the study and preparation that you go through really synthesizes everything you’ve done during residency. But after residency, everybody’s paths diverge.

And they may diverge in terms of the amount of clinical work that you do versus research or administration, all these different career paths you were alluding to. And this is one of the fundamental problems with the traditional MOC, as it’s been developed by the American Board of Medical Specialties, is that they’re really one size fits no one.

Yeah, it was, originally they were all you know, one 10 year exam make or break that usually cost over $2,000 to take. And that was just incredibly painful to people. I mean, you know, if they failed that one time exam, they couldn’t even work.

There was no pressure on them to do anything about that they had a monopoly. And it really wasn’t until NB pas came along in 2015. And there was an alternative, that the boards actually started revising their processes, having their costs, making things more longitudinal, as opposed to a one time 10 year make or break.

So just the element of competition that we’ve provided, I think has made everyone’s life easier whether they even realize it or not. But the fact is, nobody really wants to know if you’re a good doctor, they want to know if you’re currently in your practice.

And your ability to answer in case of anesthesiology, X number of multiple choice questions every three months has never been shown to have the slightest bearing on any of those qualifications.

Yeah, I think that the things that are so important to know about NBPAS is that we’re now recognized by the Joint Commission. I’ll ask Karen, to give the technicalities of that, but we’re recognized by the Joint Commission…

Yeah, you got to issue a, and these other regulatory bodies as an perfectly acceptable alternative to traditional maintenance of certification. Now let Karen go through some of the details on that, because her work and the staff’s work in, you know, the incredibly lengthy process of getting this acceptance has been enormous.

There, I can’t wait to hear about that. Because I know, you know, that first impression that someone might have and hearing that there’s an alternative to their primary board certifying body might be, oh, is this something that’s less rigorous? Is it taken seriously? Is it meaningful to get certified in this way? So tell us about it.

Well, you know, I want to really double down on what Dr. Sibert said, because she made some really critical points. And I think you have to almost take a little moment of history lesson and step back for a moment.

And remember that there’s a real difference between the initial board certification, which means you have expended incredible energy in a residency program, you’ve become a specialist, you’ve passed a very rigorous exam, and you are now, you know, unique among physicians in your specialty field.

When MOC came out, they grandfathered or exempted up to 40% of us physicians from these new maintenance of certification programs as Dr. Sibert pointed out. And so to say that you’re a lesser doctor by not participating in MOCs is really a little bit it’s it’s a very it’s a you know, we believe it’s a pretty strong misrepresentation because keep mind, there are many wonderful physicians all the time practicing medicine grandfathered or not.

And the data is really clear, we’re data driven and evidence driven. And to date, there’s really no widely agreed upon double blinded, placebo controlled sort of study or level evidence that we would say, points to, you know, better quality doctors or better patient outcomes with MOC.

Back to your original question. Marjorie, you said, Will many physicians ask you what is that? What does that flipping point when can I, you know, when can I choose something different, and what I like to say about the National Board of physicians and surgeons in our certification practice, we never want to be seen, even though we’re an alternative pathway, we certainly don’t see it as a lesser pathway.

And a huge percentage of our membership, or our physician diplomats are actively practicing clinicians, who see patients, you know, 80 hours a week. And they do not find the MOC programs to be of clinical value to their patient care, not to mention the administrative burden, time and cost. So I don’t think that we ever want to be seen as the organization for when you stop seeing patients, I don’t think that’s and it’s not accurate.

So I think we have physicians who might fit into the category of some of your audience who are moving on to industry and perhaps seeing patients less. And we also have very, very hard working physicians who are frontline every day, who have simply had enough with that burden. So I think that’s really important to know.

And, you know, one of the hallmarks of our requirements is to require CME that is in your specialty. And we check that really, really carefully because physicians know what they need to study.

And even in something as broad as internal medicine as a great example, there are so many sub-specialty practices that are really individualized for patient populations that may be very, very different. And so physicians can choose the material that they need to study, depending on the work and the patients that they see.

I think, and it goes both ways, whether you’re in an incredibly limited subspecialty. And you don’t want to answer all these general questions or whether you’re in a really broad general practice, and how to position a double lumen to for example, it’s just not something that you need to worry about anymore.

Either way, the questions that are actually relevant to you are going to be relatively few out of this bucket of questions that you have to answer.

I think that the really telling point was that the ABMS did a survey of over 34,000 physicians a couple of years ago, it’s called their “vision analysis”, and the number the percentage of physicians that thought that moc was worthwhile across all these different specialties was 12%.

Well, that’s a strikingly low number, because it’s a really low number, burn, like to learn, right? We go to meetings we read, we engage in that sort of sounds cliche, but in that lifelong learning, but people are not finding that traditional MOC to be a valuable way to do it sounds like.

No, they’re not at all and it’s costly. And again, the burden is Undo on younger physicians, since a higher percentage of younger physicians or women who are also trying to start families, undue burden on women, undue burden on people who are going into the primary care fields that are less remunerative.

It’s, it’s really, it really is not. It’s not fair. And I’ve never been a person who thought about fair, you know, fair is for sports, maybe but, but nonetheless, this is not a level playing field. This is an undue burden on young physicians that are already encumbered with debt, who are working very, very hard. And honestly, I think it’s a significant contributor to burnout and to people leaving clinical medicine, I understand that people need clinical medicine for a lot of very valid reasons. But I think we can all agree that to have people driven out of clinical medicine can’t be a worthy goal.

Yeah, it’s it to me this, almost the opposite end of that spectrum, as you’re talking about, you know, fairness, for many people who feel that they cannot, they cannot afford to take the preparatory classes and to go through the expensive process of applying to medical school, like we lose people on the front end, because they they don’t have the resources or the time or the support to pursue it and then potentially losing people on the on the back end or in the middle there because it is so onerous and expensive.

I don’t think there’s any question that all these requirements can contribute to burnout. I have to say, you know, just the mandatory e-learning that my hospital has required on all these different things, you know, it’s like a drop here, a drop there, but all of a sudden, it just turns into unbearable pressure and a loss of any freetime.

And it really contributes to misery. And that shouldn’t be that shouldn’t be part of the practice of medicine. I really appreciate what you said earlier, which is that even with just sort of the establishment of this second organization, you’ve seen that that not only can you offer certification, ongoing certification, at lower costs, and with less onerous, though, still rigorous and really relevant learning experience, like demonstration of competency there, that there has been a trickle down effect.

So that the traditional boards then due to this competition are making changes that are making their processes a little more palatable, I suppose for physicians that continue to get certified in that route.

I think they’ve had to be responsive. But what I think a lot of physicians were worried about, this wouldn’t be true for people outside of clinical medicine, that people were worried that they’d lose hospital credentials, that third party payers would be reluctant to accept this.

And that has really, that’s what Karen and her staff have really been working toward, is making sure that the Joint Commission and the DNV and you know, these other hospital regulatory bodies were familiar with NBPAS that they recognize that this is a demonstration of continuing education that is physician driven.

And you know that this is legit. And so now the problem of not getting credentials and not getting paid is really far less. The American Medical Association actually passed a resolution stating that MOC should not be a mandated requirement for licensure, credentialing, payment, network participation or employment.

And even the ABMS in that same vision commission report said and you can look at the direct quote, but the ABMS must encourage hospitals, health systems, payers and other health care organizations to not deny credentialing or privileging to a physician solely on the basis of certification. So even they acknowledge that there’s nothing in their process that keeps somebody from being a good physician.

That’s really important. I think that’s something we all know, but it’s really nice to see that.

You hear that or read it. I can’t make that statement that you can’t be a good physician without a MOC. And they know that. Yeah, yeah. But they would like for us all to believe it. And then of course, as I know that Dr. Stiegler is very well aware. So as you’re coming up through academics, it just never occurs to you that there’s any downside to the boards.

That’s fair. I’ve been a board examiner.

So if you’re like the Holy Grail, you know, that’s what we all aspire to be, is a board examiner or direct questions and things like that. So there’s absolutely no critical look at what we’re actually doing. This is just part of the academic game. And so then everybody who comes on faculty just goes along with it. And nobody dares say the emperor has no clothes, nobody dares go to an academic hospital, you know, credentialing committee, and say, “Oh, by the way, we should accept this”, although I think people are starting to do it now.

So this has been more driven at the private practice level, where people were, people were busy. And they said, We don’t have time for this. Let’s do this to get people credential faster, get them on board, you know, let’s just go along with this.

And to support this not just go along with it, but support this is a totally legitimate way of demonstrating that you’re continuing to keep up with continuing education of the kind that you need to do your work. Now, Karen can explain this in more detail.

But for surgeons, we actually do… what are the requirements for a surgeon to be certified or continued? Yeah, so you know, in terms of, again, we try to be evidence driven right and keep everyone specialty specific.

We actually have something that goes above and beyond ABMS’s MOC program and what Dr. Sibert is referring to if you have a surgical specialty, you need to have privileges in what we call a deemed facilities what CMS calls a deemed facility, which could be outpatient or hospital.

And we think this is really important because you could get 100 on every single test you ever take in your life and get every multiple choice question right? But you still might have bad technical skills in the ER and so you know,

It’s really important to remember that board certification was never intended as “the everything credential”, right? It’s one part of the whole suite of what makes a physician, a great physician. I mean, I really liked what Dr. Sibert said earlier. I mean, I don’t go to my doctor and ask how many multiple choice questions did you get right this month?

That is not what I discussed with my physician. I know a great physician when I meet them right in the exam room. And I think that to misrepresent what board certification is, again, a very important distinction between initial and becoming a specialist through an ACGME accredited residency.

And this isn’t, you know, this newer idea, which is just from the early 2000s, about ongoing maintenance. And, you know, to the economics of it all, you both happen to be anesthesiologists and so I quickly pulled some hard numbers from the American Board of anesthesia’s 990, which if you’re not familiar, is just the IRS mandated tax form for nonprofits.

The most updated one that’s available publicly is 2019. And they may about $9 million and change from initial board certification exams, which again, we feel strongly about positively and support. But their MOC revenue was over $6 million.

So it’s near, you know, it’s, it’s, it’s changed the revenue model. And we also believe, you know, in terms of going all the way back to 2015, when NBPAS was founded, Dr. Seibert knows because she was there in the beginning.

I mean, pass really believes is the conflict of interest here to charge for programs that are not really evidence based and nearly double double your revenue model. I think it raises a lot of questions.

And to one of your earlier questions, Marjorie about, you know, what, what are the practical nuts and bolts and one of the questions that we in the office get asked every day, I mean, the biggest question we get asked is, are you accepted?

Can I do this? Is this cool? What happens next? And, and so you know, yes. So amazingly, the Joint Commission named us a designated equivalent source agency to verify board certification, and CQA and their competitor, you rock which accredit health plans also have us as an acceptable choice for board certification. DNV is essentially a competitor to Joint Commission, they are available. We meet all of those accreditation standards.

And to the point of competition, there was a time when even the Joint Commission was the only game in town. It’s a really good analogy for NBPAS, because the FTC actually stepped in and said, This is not okay. There’s, it’s not a one horse town, competition is good for hospitals, it’s good for price, it’s good for innovation, it’s good for driving, you know, change, that’s positive change.

And so, you know, DNV emerged on the accreditation landscape in the hospital space. And it’s made a lot of positive changes for everyone. So I think, you know, I like to say we’re not here to overthrow, if it were available as a choice, I like to say NBPAS is additive.

If someone, a hospital or an employer wants to, hopefully recognize NBPAS, it’s a great option for their physicians.

It’s a great recruitment and retention tool for their physicians, because it’s so physician friendly. And it’s a way to maintain, you know, clinical excellence throughout your career, whether you’re seeing patients until we have for you for every moment of your career, or whether you move on to non clinical roles. You’re maintaining excellence in either pathway, but in a way, that’s much less burdensome.

I love it. I didn’t know that there was an alternative to the Joint Commission that might speak to the time well, that might speak to where I’ve worked. Or it might speak to the time where I have been out of clinical medicine now since 2017. So I don’t know when that came on the scene.

But it’s a great analogy, and I can really see sort of the relevance here of, you know, we of course want high quality, we want high quality and our institutions, high quality and our professionals high quality in our processes, all across the board.

But who is monitoring and you know, giving that stamp of approval, it makes sense that that not be a single body sort of, you know, with a tight, tight grip on what everyone should be doing.

But with more transparency and more options that really all of that high quality can be maintained in a way that makes sense for people in their careers or for large and small practices, or I’m just sort of guessing but I know that certainly Joint Commission standards are easier to to manage if you’re a large enterprise than if you are a smaller office or an office space set. and so forth. So I appreciate that analogy. It’s a good one.

And, you know, this is kind of a lighter point. And, and I hope you guys enjoy it. But I think sometimes not being a physician, it’s a really interesting vantage point for me, you know, in the MB pass off is because I work with so many physicians, and one thing I’ve observed, in general is that, you know, physicians are, have been our highest such high achievers.

And so it’s sort of a psychology or mentality that you must be doing, if you’re not doing XYZ, something must be wrong. And so it’s really hard to sort of, you know, as NBPAS expands on the landscape of continuing certification. I think there’s, you know, some people just sort of have that sort of psychological block that it’s hard to do something new or different than the example I’ll give.

I won’t say when or where, but I was presenting to a live audience. And there was an older physician who was commenting, and he said, You know, I just took my exam, and I just studied for three months.

And it was really hard. And I did it, and I passed it. And he said, and it was completely irrelevant to my entire practice of medicine, but I did it anyway. And he turned to me for kind of a response. And I said, you know, I didn’t want to be disrespectful. And I said, well, with respect, I think you just endorsed me pass.

Because, you know, he was doing it, because it was the way it had always been done, not because it made him a better doctor. And I think that’s the key that you know, and physicians.

You know, I’ve had many friends who are physicians, I’ve had friends who say, we just don’t stand up for ourselves enough, we just don’t speak up for ourselves enough. And I think it’s true from a non physician perspective, I think doctors really do need to advocate for what’s best for them.

And if we can provide that choice and, you know, maintain clinical excellence in a less burdensome manner, that’s what we exist to do. I love that. And you know, that that also kind of brings me it resonates with me, again, when I think full circle, obviously, not trying to focus entirely on non clinical careers here.

But as you’ve mentioned, you know, physicians often just behave in a way this is what’s expected of us. So this is what we’re going to do. And it really limits a person’s autonomy and freedom.

And so many people when they’re considering being leaders in other areas in the healthcare landscape, where I’ll just I’ll editorialized here for a second, I think it’s really important for physicians to be everywhere, because if we are not in those pockets of all of the healthcare landscape, then we really are powerless to influence within those walls. And so I think it’s really important.

So I support that, obviously, I’m a little biased, because that’s how my career direction has gone. But so many people that I that I know, who are interested in contributing to healthcare in a different way, are really fearful that if they walk out the door of the clinic, even for a temporary period of time just to learn and grow and do something new, that somehow they will lose their certification, and their entire life’s work of becoming a physician being trained, being certified, and all of that will be sort of swept out from underneath them, and there’ll be no way back, no way to maintain and, and it’s sort of paralyzing.

It prevents people from taking breaks, it prevents people from pursuing other things professionally. And it prevents people from growing and making the kind of contributions that they want to make, and just feeling like they have any choices within their career.

I mean, sort of fundamental, it makes people feel like they’re kind of in jail. And so I was just really, really delighted to see that there is an organization that offers this kind of alternative, this just seems like it, it solves that whole problem, right?

It helps to give physicians back that freedom to really take charge of and responsibility for maintaining the kind of knowledge and lifelong education that they need to do a good job at what they’re doing.

An important point, because I’ve been asked this question before by people who wanted to take a leave or wanted to do they had wanted to take an administrative job somewhere and we’re fearful that they might not have a bridge back maintenance of certification is one thing, and we can certainly offer that, you know, proof of, of continuing certification. Credentialing is another issue.

You know, I’ve encouraged people who wanted to make sure that they had a bridge back to maintain clinical credentials somewhere, which can be remarkably easy to do. You know, it’s really a handful of cases. It doesn’t mean that you I’m working even part time, but yeah,

But there are different kinds of qualifications. So somebody who’s thinking about either taking a leave or going off on a new career path, if you want to maintain that bridge back, keep your clinical hand in at least to the point of staying credentialed and on the clinical staff somewhere, because once you don’t do that, then you’re going to end up dealing trying to deal with reentry retraining reef, whatever.

So look at the maintenance of certification and the clinical credentials piece. Sure, absolutely. And especially with locum opportunities and things like that these days, there are good ways to stay clinically active and, and especially for procedural types of specialties. You know, I think that’s really important. I don’t mean to minimize that whatsoever.

Well, good. So, you know, the other day, you’re gonna say something, and I kind of marched in. Oh, no, that’s okay. I think he made an excellent point!

You know, the beauty of having Dr. Sibert and I, on your program together is, you know, there’s a clinical perspective that only a physician knows, and then I fill in with all the regulatory gobbledygook.

People want to know about it. That physicians don’t really want to waste their time on it but yeah, I don’t remember exactly what it was.

Oh, I think it had to do with insurance, actually. Because that is another really common question. It may be less relevant if your audience involves, you know, a lot of physicians who are looking for careers outside of clinical medicine, yet, it’s still really important.

And maybe to Dr. Sibert point, well, what happens if you decide to go back to clinical medicine and so really, really important work direction for us is to make sure that payers are all on board and we’re really excited to report that we’ve experienced widespread payer acceptance.

Beacon Health Options, which is the largest behavioral health company in the United States, they’re owned by Element Anthem, over 40 million patients nationwide, they added NBPAS officially.

Geisinger Health Plan, which is in my neck of the woods, is a really the Geisinger Health System really tends to be a progressive forward thinking, they really tried to lead and they were an early adopter, which was fabulous.

We have at least half of the Blue Cross Blue Shield’s nationally, Humana’s AAP priorities, many more, you know, we feel a lot of calls from insurance corporates these days, and we engage with all of them to make sure that, you know, essentially, we want to remove any roadblock that exists. And so then you, the physician, has the freedom to make the career choices that are right for you.

I love that that sounds like a lot of important work that you have done. That was probably not easy, especially early on, but probably still. I hope getting easier. And you’ve had great success there. So that’s super. Well, let’s just say I like a challenge.

I would like to address one or two things just explicitly because I do get questions about this a lot as well. And I think I know the answer, but I wanted to include it for completeness.

So a lot of folks who come to the United States who trained elsewhere, international medical graduates who have not practiced in the US nor been certified in the US, they would not be eligible for any type of certification within NBPAS, I assume. Is that right? That’s correct.

That’s correct. Unless they went right, to cyber unless they went back and did an ACGME fully accredited residency, etc. Right. That’s our primary qualification is you have to have a current, you have to have board certification. If your board certification has lapsed, the requirements for CME hours are doubled.

That’s perfect. You read my mind. I was going to ask you about that. What if you have been certified in the United States, but have let that lapse?

You know, again, back during 20… 2015, when the board was, you know, putting their heads together and thinking what made sense. And you know, what, what was important? You know, if you’ve been out for a while having more CMEs makes sense to make sure you’re really up to date.

I am going to ask you even one more question then because now this makes me think of my own license or so in the state of North Carolina, we renew our license on an annual basis.

And in the area in which I’m supposed to enter, my CME hours are waived if I’m an active participant in an MOC program. So there’s this little box for me to check that yes, I’m actively participating in MOC program, and then I don’t have to, you know, individually report or or meet any of those specific CME criteria.

I wonder if, I wonder if, being a credit being certified in NBPAS would qualify for that. You may not know the answer to that, because that’s perhaps a niche question. But since it’s relevant to me, I figure I may just ask you. Yeah, that’s a great question. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. So I appreciate that I learned something from you today. That’s something I’m gonna look into. It’s gonna be really first on my list.

And I think you’ll probably have to do with the exact wording and otherwise if they’re saying an ABMS MOC program, that’s one thing. If they’re just saying maintenance of certification, we absolutely do maintenance of certification.

Yeah, I always like to say sometimes people show us legislative documents, and they’re often they’re often filled with errors to be quite honest, because there’s a real difference of what I call MOCs all capitals with a trademark, which is a trademarked product sold by the American Board of Medical Specialties, and lowercase maintenance of certification, which is simply a phrase that means doctors maintain their learning.

So Dr. Sibert said it perfectly, you know, depends what they say it’s trademarked MOC, versus, you know, a more generalized idea of what it means to maintain your certification. But I will absolutely look into that for you let you know.

I’m going to look at it myself when I renew next because to be a you know, as I’m thinking about this now, what you’ve just said, I have probably butchered my language throughout this entire episode thinking about capital MOC, trademark versus lowercase maintenance of certification, and all the names of the organizations and all the things because it’s not my area of expertise.

But it occurs to me, I have never really noticed. I mean, I got the gist of what they’re asking, and I click the box, but I have no idea actually what they were really asking me, because I didn’t know there was anything else other than maintaining my certification with the American Board of APBS for me.

And then the other terminology that’s really important is we don’t do board certification. We don’t give tests, we don’t do anything like that. We offer a means to verify maintenance of education, maintenance of evidence based learning, maintenance of, you know, documentation of legitimate work done to continue our medical education.

But we are not and never intend to be in the board certification process, or in the testing process, absolutely no intention of ever going down that road.

Got it. But just to be clear, while we’re talking about about words and phrases, and being accurate, if a person has their primary certification, and then maintains their certification via NBPAS, we would still, it would still be correct to say that your current board certified?
That you have a certificate with you know, verifying maintenance of certification in your specialty by and BPAs. And if you renew that every two years, for the incredibly modest cost of $189, you will get a renewal certificate every two years.

Well, I want to thank you both so much for coming on the podcast to talk about this, I have learned a tremendous amount, I’ve really appreciated it, it’s totally new to me and new I know to to I would say almost all of my audience if I had to guess.

And for people who are listening who want to learn more, you can just go to the website, it’s, as in National Board of Physicians and Surgeons .org. And there’s a very user-friendly and instructive website. Is there anything else Dr. Sibert, or Karen, that you would like to tell people in terms of how to find out more or what they ought to know, before we end today?

I think I just, you know, I think you covered so many bases. And really, we appreciate you taking an interest in NBPAS. You know, I think the most important takeaway, something we kind of touched on earlier, which is that, you know, physicians, if this is an important issue to any individual physician, you know, it’s important to get on board to lead.

And we have physicians who certify with us even if their organization is not fully on board yet, even if they’re still thinking about it, whether they’re in clinical medicine or not.

It’s an important point of advocacy also, to make a statement about, you know, what your values are as a physician leading in medicine, so I really encourage anyone to reach out, look at our website, you can send us an email, the link is there on the website, and we’d be really happy to have you.

Great, thank you both so much. Our pleasure. Thank you.

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