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Comment & Response
September 1, 2015

Maintenance of Certification Programs and the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact—Reply

Author Affiliations
  • 1Scripps Clinic, Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Institute, La Jolla, California
  • 2Scripps Translational Science Institute, Scripps Health, La Jolla, California
JAMA. 2015;314(9):952. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.8912

In Reply Dr Smith questions our assertion that the Interstate Medical Licensure Compact being enacted by states requires physician participation in the highly controversial MOC programs. We find this issue to be a point of frequent confusion and we appreciate the attempt to clarify the requirements. Smith accurately states that the Federation of State Medical Boards Interstate License Compact does not require MOC, but does require specialty certification.

The confusion revolves around the definition of certification. The Compact requires board certification at the time of license application. This poses no problem for physicians with time-unlimited certificates. However, under the current onerous new certification rules, all new diplomates lose certification status within several months of passing their board examinations unless they enroll in MOC. New diplomates usually learn they have passed the boards in late fall. If they do not enroll in MOC by the following April, they lose their certification status. Thus, new certificate holders who pass the board examination but choose not to participate in MOC have only a short window during their entire career to apply for Compact licensure. This is not practical.

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