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August 1980

Why Recertification?

Author Affiliations

St Clair Shores, Mich

Arch Surg. 1980;115(8):1003. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1980.01380080093021

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To the Editor.—The commentary by Arthur E. Baue, MD, in the Archives (115:11-14, 1980) entitled "Why Recertification?" in itself demands comment. It presents recertification testing as a valid, established method of measuring surgical competence, voluntary in concept, and generally favored (indeed initiated) by the better physicians in the profession. Nothing could be farther from the truth.

There is not one shred of evidence to suggest that periodic retesting of any sort actually separates competent from incompetent physicians, which is what the public desires. Personality problems, alcoholism, laziness, and financial greed are flaws undetected by the proposed written test, yet responsible in great measure for poor performance in practice. The author scoffs at continuing medical education courses on esoteric subjects, but asks readers to believe that the 200 multiple-choice questions on the test will all be practical stuff. Candidates will spend hours, perhaps days, preparing an authenticated record of two years'

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