Petition to Change Neonatal Board Recertification: Eliminating the Closed Book Exam


1) Please read the following petition and SIGN if in agreement. Please submit any COMMENTS which you feel may further support this petition.  Please include your full name and title. (To add a signature/comment simply scroll down past any current comments to add yours in the box that says “Post Your Signature/Comment Here”)

2) Please help maximize our mutual efforts by sending a link to this page to your colleagues throughout the United States so that they may better understand the issues and add their support.

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The Petition:

The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program includes requirements which add significant time and expense to board recertification. This complex system now requires that physicians complete a closed-book recertification examination every 10 years.

The undersigned believe:

1) The ABP MOC closed-book recertification examination provides an inadequate assessment of the practicing physician’s knowledge.  It does not assess the physician’s abilities to access and synthesize knowledge via literature consultation, and does not assess critical thinking skills.

2) There is no substantial evidence that a time-limited closed-book examination is an accurate way to identify a qualified versus an unqualified physician.

3) There is no substantial evidence that the requirement of a closed-book examination improves patient outcomes or improves physician performance.

4) Via either personal experience with MOC or the experience of our colleagues, we believe a closed-book recertification exam has questionable value and impedes the learning process by detracting from more worthwhile educational activities, such as Continuing Medical Education (CME).

5) We call on the ABP to modify the MOC requirements, eliminating the closed-book recertification examination, and institute a simple pathway consisting of required attendance at a periodic intense board recertification review course, or well-designed learning modules targeting specific areas of basic knowledge as well as current advances in knowledge.

Supported by the Florida Society of Neonatologists and other neonatologists throughout the United States seeking changes to the recertification process.

(To add a signature/comment simply scroll down past any current comments to add yours in the box that says “Post Your Signature/Comment Here”)

69 comments for “Petition to Change Neonatal Board Recertification: Eliminating the Closed Book Exam

  1. May 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    I agree with this petition.

  2. Jose Perez
    May 13, 2015 at 8:27 pm

    Agree with this petition

  3. Angelina Pera MD
    May 13, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    I agree with this petition and thank you!

  4. Jose A Colindres MD
    May 14, 2015 at 8:23 pm

    Jose A Colindres MD
    I agree with this petition…, and I consider this matter to be highly relevant

  5. Stacey Stone, M.D.
    May 15, 2015 at 10:45 am

    I agree with the petition. Our colleagues in adult medicine, doing similar jobs are not forced to take a written exam to continue to care for their patients- why should we. Practices should be more universal. Unfortunately this exam does not make a physician better at the bedside but wastes our much needed time that could be spent on patient care and learning the latest medical breakthroughs and truly improving our care.

  6. May 15, 2015 at 6:46 pm

    I totally agree with the petition. A closed book exam has not been validated to show improved care and outcomes for our patients. A carefully designed process of continuing education that targets important areas and advances are more relevant to improving the quality of care based on evidence based practice.

    The current closed book exam does not address and support improved education and advancement of knowledge. I just recently took and passed the recertification exam this year. The process and exam is obsolete. Some of the questions asked were based on old knowledge and practice that is no longer applied in current practice. An example of this is that of given an EKG result, what kind of anatomic heart lesion does the infant have. In the past when echocardiography and current advances and quality of the modality was not available; an EKG was the only option to help in making a diagnosis. Yet, we are being asked this question in the most recent closed book exam. The current standard short of a cardiac cath, CT or MRI is an echocardiogram. We don’t even do an EKG to make an anatomic diagnosis.

    For those who instituted the closed book exam thinking this will improve knowledge, care and patient outcome by those who take it, this is totally invalid. The fact that other neonatologists are exempt from this process and are felt that they can deliver current quality care resulting in improved patient outcome and remain certified without taking the closed book exam just proves that the closed book exam is not necessary.

    The effect of failing to pass a closed book exam has far more reaching ramifications on a neonatologist’s hospital privileges, insurability not to mention livelihood.

  7. Maria Gracia Espejo-Kong, MD
    May 15, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    I completely support the petition.

  8. D. Jim Rawlings, MD
    May 19, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    I fully support this petition

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