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MOC "is just a cash grab"

Posted on May 19, 2017 13:14

Jeffrey Chaulk, MD, is a busy man. He’d have to be.  As one of just two ophthalmologists serving a 16-county region in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Doctor Chaulk’s practice is the sole source of access to quality care for thousands scattered throughout the region. And at 60 years young, Doctor Chaulk isn’t ready to retire - he still loves seeing patients, and he knows the huge void his departure would create. So why is Doctor Chaulk considering an early retirement? Maintenance of Certification (MOC) has everything to do with it.

For the first 23 years of his career, Doctor Chaulk was the only Ophthalmologist practicing in his large corner of Northern Michigan, serving patients from West Branch all the way to St. Ignace.

“For years, I worked in conjunction with our local hospitals to recruit more ophthalmologists to the area, but we couldn’t convince a single doctor to make the move.”

Eventually Doctor Chaulk lucked out. An ophthalmologist from the area approached Doctor Chaulk about his interest in moving back home.

For the underserved region, it was a blessing.  

But it’s still not enough.

“Our practice is still growing. And with more and more baby boomers retiring in this area, there’s no reason to think it will slow down. It’s too much for one person to handle.”

Doctor Chaulk is hoping it doesn’t come to that, but it is looking like that may be a real possibility. With his third cycle of MOC coming up later this year, Doctor Chaulk is unsure it’s worth the time or money to keep up his certification and continue practicing. 

“I’ve been practicing for 30 years and I’ve already jumped through these hoops more than once. And for what? Reputable studies conducted by peer-review journals keep confirming what physicians already know – MOC has absolutely no bearing on the quality of patient care or patient outcomes. This is just a cash grab. I hope our legislature will see that. I’m not ready to retire, but given this environment, it’s something I need to consider.”

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