CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION: Critics Call for Changes
Critics of continuing medical education programs charge that states are not doing enough to ensure that doctors are keeping pace with the rapidly changing medical world, the Washington Times reports. Thirty-one states have CME requirements, but many do not require doctors to demonstrate competence, and many allow doctors to choose coursework based on their interests rather than on any deficiencies. About 85% of U.S. doctors "are certified by one of the 24 medical specialty boards," but only 15 of the 24 boards "have current recertification programs, which may include voluntary tests of medical knowledge in that specialty," the Times reports. Medical malpractice cases have called into question hospitals' decisions to allow doctors to practice, and some hospitals have begun reviewing doctors' charts to spot problem areas. But Dr. Fuller Torrey, president of the Treatment Advocacy Center, said this peer review system "has some real flaws" in rural hospitals and some "less desirable hospitals" that have a hard time recruiting physicians. Last October the Pew Health Professions Commission called for the adoption of universal testing of physicians, but the Federation of State Medical Boards favors the use of a series of indicators to pinpoint doctors in trouble (Larson, 3/21).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.