Oklahoma imposes legislative constraints on MOC
In April 2016, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin signed into law an act designed to prevent Oklahoma healthcare entities and medical boards from requiring physicians to maintain specialty certification with the American Board of Medical Specialties in order to obtain medical licensure, reimbursement or admitting privileges. ABMS says its maintenance of certification (MOC) program is necessary to sustain professionalism, quality performance, and patient safety. Physician proponents of the new state law say the MOC program is expensive and burdensome and has not been proven to produce improved patient outcomes.
McAfee & Taft healthcare attorney Patricia Rogers was interviewed by the Credentialing Resource Center Journal about the new law and why the MOC program still has value to some healthcare entities and providers.
“Most hospitals do consider board certification as one of the factors in determining whether a physician has the necessary competence to obtain medical staff privileges,” said Rogers. She explained this is especially true in instances where an initial applicant has not yet amassed a history of personal performance for the hospital to evaluate. Still, she said, the MOC shouldn’t be the only deciding factor. “Now would be the time to allow an alternate way [for] showing competence and meeting those quality standards.”
Rogers was also interviewed about what she sees as the new law’s limited enforceability as it pertains to admitting privileges and reimbursements. She explained the new law amends two Oklahoma statutes, each of which has jurisdiction over the licensure of professionals. Those statutes, however, do not govern hospitals or health plans, the entities responsible for admitting privileges and reimbursements.
“The boards of licensure for physicians can only govern members within their authority and cannot govern hospitals, health plan or employers,” she said. “Entities still have the right to require MOC for their providers, employees or medical staff, thereby imposing higher standards than the licensure board.”
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