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Editor's Correspondence
Sep 12, 2011

Fairness and Effectiveness of Maintenance of Certification

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: School of Community Health, Portland State University, Lake Oswego, Oregon.

Arch Intern Med. 2011;171(16):1507. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2011.385

In the process of addressing common misconceptions, Levinson and Holmboe1 rightly note the benefits to physicians and their patients of board recertification. However, nowhere do they note that in internal medicine, those physicians who became board certified after 1992 (myself included) are required to recertify every 10 years, while those at the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) who originally created this policy do not have to recertify, unless required to do so by their employers. Given the costs associated with recertification (recertification fee of $1570-$1772 per 10 years, plus time lost from work or vacation to take the examination), this amounts to a regressive tax, since it falls more heavily on younger physicians who have spent fewer years in practice and may have lower incomes and higher educational debts.

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