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More on recertification

January 2015

Published in the January 2015 issue of Today’s Hospitalist

I just read your October cover story (“Hospitalists speak out on recertification“) with some trepidation. I was first board certified in internal medicine in 1991 and recertified in 2002. (The 2001 exams were postponed due to 9/11.) I have passed every board exam I have ever taken “until the advent of the “take the exam on a computer” era. I cannot pass exams that I have to read on a computer; in fact, I can’t read articles on a computer and have to first print them out. As a result, I have now failed my last two tries at recertification and am waiting to take the exam again.

I don’t think this reflects at all on my competence as a physician and, needless to say, I’d like to see the recertification process radically changed. I strongly support continued medical education for ALL practicing physicians. Besides having to attend conferences in our field, I would make it mandatory for every physician to do a portion of the board exam (on a take-home basis) every year after initial certification for the rest of his or her practice life to maintain certification.

That would guarantee continued reading and education on a yearly basis. It wouldn’t weed out the bad from the good, but the current system doesn’t either. It simply rewards good test-takers.

Arthur D. Siegel, MD
Scotch Plains, N.J.