23 April 2008

Board Certification--A Lesson in Staying Connected

Board Certification—A Lesson in Staying Connected

As I mentioned at our MOA convention in November, we have now moved past the days of websites, and e-mail to more powerful networking engines like Facebook, Second Life, and Tele-Town Hall. My new MOA Viewpoint Blog will be the perfect forum to present and answer questions about the Board Certification issue. Unfortunately, I was not able to attend the GBOS meeting last week where there were apparently quite a few questions about the Board Certification project. I will give you a summary of the issue here, but encourage you to post questions to this blog if you have any. We will discuss this at many meetings over the next year, so you will have plenty of time to ask questions. The bottom line is that there was a Joint Board Certification Project Team (JBCPT) set up around the time of the Northeast meeting at Vision Expo in March of 2007. The JBCPT was composed of members of approximately six organizations, i.e. AAO, AOA, ARBO, NBEO, etc. So it is not an AOA project or is it even led by AOA. Right now the JBCPT is in an exploratory or information gathering stage. They do not have a proposal, or anything to present at this time. They have been asked to give us more specifics by September 2008, and are understandably concerned about delivering incomplete, inaccurate info. They probably will not have a formal proposal for us to discuss before the beginning of 2009. At our MOA Convention in Baltimore David Cockrell from the AOA spoke about the issue at some length during our Sunday luncheon. AOA representative Randy Brooks has been very accessible to discuss the issue at numerous meetings. The message from the JBCPT is that the issue of Board certification is completely different from the ABOP issue that almost divided the profession during the AOA Congress in Las Vegas, June 2000. I remember traveling to the meeting with Tim Madgar and Mike Sless. As we entered the House of Delegates the debate was cancelled and the ABOP issue was completely dropped.

I know the JBCPT is doing their research. They have a meeting soon with the Board of Family Medicine. I would advise all MOA members to post to this blog if you have questions. Also, I and many of the MOA Board members will be available at meetings to answer questions. Our AOA rep will be responsive to any concerns or questions we have. I know that it is problematic that in optometry we have so many organizations and causes that require our time and money, and I know that this is a very emotional issue. I am aware of some of the online petitions against Board Certification. Remember that we are the only specialty profession without any type of Board Certification process. We do not know if this may be for all practicing OD’s or a small subset of the profession, e.g. those who wish to be certified in Low Vision. Over the next few years there will be major changes to healthcare in the USA, along with changes in Medicare, pay for performance, and mandatory use of electronic medical records. Indeed the landscape is changing rapidly. I was at all three 2020 Summits, and there was definitely a desire to demonstrate to the public continued competency which is very different from our state licenses and national boards which are meant to measure entry level competence. I would caution everyone not to jump to conclusions until we have something tangible to discuss. I do not have an opinion on the issue at this time. I do have several concerns as I am sure everyone does. However, it does not look good for optometry if we are always making emotional responses, and are not willing to listen to new proposals. I would encourage everyone to read the past AOA news especially Jack Terry’s response to a question and Karen Riccio from Ohio’s letter to the editor:

Please see: http://www.aoanews.org/documents/AOANews_Mar242008.pdf

Again please post to this blog if you have questions. If I do not know the answer I will find out for you.

Thomas A. Wong, O.D.
President Maryland Optometric Association


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home