Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

States Prepare to Overhaul Relicensing Requirements

Magazine article Clinical Psychiatry News

States Prepare to Overhaul Relicensing Requirements

Article excerpt

State medical boards are eyeing ways to revamp the relic ensure process so that it better measures a physician's efforts to stay abreast of clinical developments.

Currently, while the public assumes that state licensure means that a physician remains competent, that's just not the case, according to Richard A. White-house, the executive director of the State Medical Board of Ohio.

"There is really no measure once someone is initially licensed and has met the threshold requirements for licensure," he said. 'Absent CME requirements, there's really nothing you can point to, to say that this person is maintaining their competency."

Officials involved in the redesign process, however, emphasize that the new requirements won't be a burden on practicing physicians and that most doctors are already doing enough to meet the standards under development.

The Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), which represents the nation's state medical boards, has been promoting the need to make relicensure a more robust process for several years.

Last spring, the organization's House of Delegates approved a framework that lays out what the maintenance of licensure process would look like in general. And over the past few months, an implementation group made up of physicians and medical board officials has been filling in the details.

The expectation is that new maintenance of licensure requirements will involve three major components: a reflective self-assessment that calls for physicians to complete a certain number of accredited continuing medical education courses; an assessment of knowledge and skills, which could be a formal exam; and some measurement of performance in practice, in which physicians would compare their practice data to those for peers and to national benchmarks.

Dr. Humayun Chaudhry, president and CEO of the FSMB, said that one of the goals in redesigning the relicensure process is to minimize the burden on practicing physicians.

To that end, the FSMB implementation group's draft report calls on state medical boards to accept participation in maintenance of certification through the American Board of Medical Specialties, or osteopathic continuous certification through the American Osteopathic Association, as substantially meeting the requirements for maintenance of licensure. "That's a big advance because a significant plurality of physicians are involved in those programs," Dr. Chaudhry said.

More than 300,000 physicians are engaged in maintenance of certification through the various boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties, and that number increases by about 50,000 physicians each year, according to Dr. …

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