November 08, 2018

ABA Research Finds Link between MOCA® Performance and Medical License Actions

Raleigh, N.C. (Nov. 8, 2018)  A study published in the October issue of Anesthesiology provides evidence that board-certified physician anesthesiologists who met Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology™ (MOCA®) program requirements were less likely to be disciplined by a state medical licensing agency. The American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) began issuing time-limited certificates in 2000 and launched the MOCA program in 2004 to help its certified physicians maintain and enhance their knowledge throughout their careers.  

The study, titled “Association between Performance in a Maintenance of Certification Program and Disciplinary Actions against the Medical Licenses of Anesthesiologists,” included 15,486 physicians certified by the ABA between 1994 and 2005. The research compared the medical license actions between anesthesiologists certified between 1994 and 1999 (non–time-limited certificate holders who are not required to participate in MOCA) and those certified between 2000 and 2005 (time-limited certificate holders who are required to participate in MOCA). It also compared results within each of these populations – physicians in the non–time-limited cohort who did and did not voluntarily participate in MOCA and physicians in the time-limited cohort who did and did not complete the MOCA program.

“It is critically important to demonstrate the efficacy of our programs and their impact on helping diplomates maintain the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. This research demonstrates that there is a correlation between program participation and maintaining a high-quality practice,” said Deborah J. Culley, M.D., secretary of the Board. “We are committed to continuing to research the MOCA program’s effect on physician knowledge and practice, and will share what we learn with our diplomates and the broader medical community.”

The study found that completing the MOCA program in a timely fashion was associated with a lower incidence of medical license actions. There was also evidence that voluntary participation in MOCA by lifetime certificate holders was linked to a lower occurrence of license actions. The introduction of time-limited certificates and MOC in 2000 was not associated with post-certification license actions. However, the research findings suggest that timely completion of MOC requirements serve as an indication to the public that a physician is less likely to be disciplined by a state licensing agency.

The study was authored by Yan Zhou, Ph.D.; Huaping Sun, Ph.D.; Alex Macario, M.D., M.B.A.; Mark T. Keegan, M.B., B.Ch.; Andrew J. Patterson, M.D., Ph.D.; Mohammed M. Minhaj, M.D., M.B.A.; Ting Wang, Ph.D.; Ann E. Harman, Ph.D.; and David O. Warner, M.D.

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Michelle Taylor
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About the American Board of Anesthesiology®
Our mission is to advance the highest standards of the practice of anesthesiology. As the certifying body for anesthesiologists since 1938, we partner with physicians to elevate practice standards and foster exceptional patient care. We administer primary and subspecialty certification exams as well as the Maintenance of Certification in Anesthesiology™ (MOCA®) program, which is designed to promote lifelong learning, a commitment to quality clinical outcomes and patient safety. Based in Raleigh, N.C., we are a nonprofit organization and a Member Board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).