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October 9, 2015
American Academy of Dermatology Opposes MOC
Dear AAD Member,
The Academy (AAD), advocating for our members, would like to make our position clear on Maintenance of Certification (MOC) with the hope to reach an understanding with the American Board of Dermatology (ABD) on certain principles. The Academy does not determine MOC requirements, but has endeavored to work with the ABD to gain consensus and points of collaboration. The Academy is opposed to any licensing and credentialing requirements that mandate MOC. Alternative options must be available to all physicians that take into consideration critical factors such as specialty, subspecialty, performance, and type of practice. The Academy’s principles regarding MOC are as follows:
A. Inclusion  
The Academy welcomes all dermatologists as fellows who have initially certified, independent of current maintenance of certification status. From the Academy’s point of view, all fellows are treated equally, independent of MOC status. Once fellowship is achieved, status does not change based on MOC. AAD recognizes that MOC is not universally required for state licensure, insurance contracts, or hospital credentialing, but rather it is one path towards lifelong learning and self-assessment.
B. Advocacy  
The Academy advocates on behalf of our members engaged in MOC to insure that MOC is convenient, relevant, and at a modest cost. We support an MOC environment conducive to relevant and meaningful learning for dermatologists, most of whom demonstrate engagement in continual learning and dedication to quality improvement. MOC should not be mandatory, but available to those who want to participate in this educational exercise or in the event that MOC is required for credentialing or any other purpose.
C. General principles regarding accomplishing MOC  
The Academy supports increasing options for dermatologists who want to participate in MOC so that MOC is based on individual learning styles and practice patterns.
The Academy asserts that the vast majority of dermatologists should be able to accomplish most MOC requirements by actively practicing dermatology and by attainment of CME credit through participation in annual, regional, state, and local dermatology meetings, as well as other forms of CME (online, journal articles, quizzes, etc.).
On September 28, the ABD released results of its survey on the MOC exam. I have heard from many of you who were surprised that the ABD’s results appear to conflict with survey results from a prior survey conducted by the AAD. I must state that the two surveys were asking different questions to slightly different audiences. Regardless, the Academy can claim no ownership of the ABD survey or the report. Our own report from Academy members registered appreciable dissatisfaction with the MOC process. For your reference, the Academy’s survey results can be found here, along with the Academy’s recommended changes.
I encourage all members to continue to engage members of the ABD directly, and rest assured the Academy will continue to do so as well. Most members of the ABD are our colleagues — and remain sympathetic to the complaints and needs of diplomates, with a desire to support education and make MOC as reasonable and palatable as possible. Hopefully, the Academy and the ABD can work together to affect positive change for the betterment of the specialty and, ultimately, enhance patient care.


Mark Lebwohl, MD, FAAD
President, American Academy of Dermatology