American Society of Plastic Surgeons
For Consumers

STATE | ASPS Fights Maintenance of Certification Repeal Efforts in the States

Facing outright repeal in Florida and Ohio, and review by a legislative task force in Tennessee, maintenance of certification requirements are top of mind for many legislators. As the debate becomes more prevalent in the U.S., stakeholders across medicine are weighing in on what should be done.

State representatives Julio Gonzalez (FL) and Theresa Gavarone (OH) are the sponsors of bills to repeal maintenance of certification requirements in their respective states. Rep. Gavarone's bill, which prohibits a physician from being required to secure maintenance of certification as a condition of obtaining licensure, reimbursement, employment, or obtaining admitting privileges or surgical privileges at a hospital or health care facility, is under consideration by the House Health Committee. The committee has already held multiple hearings on the measure, and it is likely to be brought forward in front of the full House for a vote later this year. In conjunction with the Ohio Valley Society of Plastic Surgeons (OVSPS), ASPS first sent comments to the committee in July and resubmitted those comments for a subsequent hearing on the measure this month.

While similar in nature to the Ohio legislation, Rep. Gonzalez's bill to repeal recertification requirements will not be advanced until at least January, as both legislatures do not reconvene until 2018. Therefore, ASPS sent comments directly to Rep. Gonzalez – an orthopaedic surgeon – urging him to pull the bill to ensure that patient safety is not compromised through lax maintenance of certification standards.

Earlier this year, the Tennessee legislature passed legislation that prohibits the state from requiring maintenance of certification for a physician to receive state licensure. ASPS opposed this legislature as the bill moved through the legislature. The bill, which was signed into law, instructs a bipartisan task force to examine whether further legislation is necessary and establish limitations on the ability of hospitals and insurance companies to require maintenance of certification. ASPS will continue to engage the legislative task force to counter the corrosion of maintenance of certification.

Although there has been controversy regarding the cost and value of maintenance of certification requirements within certain ABMS boards, this has been recognized and is being acted upon. ASPS applauds the American Board of Plastic Surgery for remaining committed to identifying and implementing user-friendly, cost-effective, and educationally-viable methods of continuing education as the means of maintaining board certification.