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Last 50 News Postings

 (Click on title to be directed to posting, most recent listed first)

Pulmonary Disease Linked to Vaping
CEO Compensation-One Reason Healthcare Costs So Much
Doctor or Money Shortage in California?
FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Resigns
Physicians Generate an Average $2.4 Million a Year Per Hospital
Drug Prices Continue to Rise
New Center for Physician Rights
CMS Decreases Clinic Visit Payments to Hospital-Employed Physicians
   and Expands Decreases in Drug Payments 340B Cuts
Big Pharma Gives Millions to Congress
Gilbert Hospital and Florence Hospital at Anthem Closed
CMS’ Star Ratings Miscalculated
VA Announces Aggressive New Approach to Produce Rapid Improvements
   in VA Medical Centers
Healthcare Payments Under the Budget Deal: Mostly Good News
   for Physicians
Hospitals Plan to Start Their Own Generic Drug Company
Flu Season and Trehalose
MedPAC Votes to Scrap MIPS
CMS Announces New Payment Model
Varenicline (Chantix®) Associated with Increased Cardiovascular Events
Tax Cuts Could Threaten Physicians
Trump Nominates Former Pharmaceutical Executive as HHS Secretary
Arizona Averages Over 25 Opioid Overdoses Per Day
Maryvale Hospital to Close
California Enacts Drug Pricing Transparency Bill
Senate Health Bill Lacks 50 Votes Needed to Proceed
Medi-Cal Blamed for Poor Care in Lawsuit
Senate Republican Leadership Releases Revised ACA Repeal and Replace Bill
Mortality Rate Will Likely Increase Under Senate Healthcare Bill
University of Arizona-Phoenix Receives Full Accreditation
Limited Choice of Obamacare Insurers in Some Parts of the Southwest
Gottlieb, the FDA and Dumbing Down Medicine
Salary Surveys Report Declines in Pulmonologist, Allergist and Nurse 
CDC Releases Ventilator-Associated Events Criteria
Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative Did Not Reduce COPD Readmissions
Younger Smokers Continue to Smoke as Adults: Implications for Raising the
   Smoking Age to 21
Most Drug Overdose Deaths from Nonprescription Opioids
Lawsuits Allege Price Fixing by Generic Drug Makers
Knox Named Phoenix Associate Dean of Faculty Affairs
Rating the VA Hospitals
Garcia Resigns as Arizona University VP
Combination Influenza Therapy with Clarithromycin-Naproxen-Oseltamivir
   Superior to Oseltamivir Alone
VAP Rates Unchanged
ABIM Overhauling MOC
Substitution of Assistants for Nurses Increases Mortality, Decreases Quality
CMS Releases Data on Drug Spending
Trump Proposes Initial Healthcare Agenda
Election Results of Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
Southwest Ballot Measures Affecting Healthcare
ACGME Proposes Dropping the 16 Hour Resident Shift Limit


For an excel file with complete news listings click here.

A report from Heartwire described a letter written by Peter Wilmshurst to the AHA asking for full disclosure of conflicts of interest in the MIST trial. Wilmshurst was portrayed in SWJPCC on April 27, 2012 in our Profiles of Medical Courage series. We felt the report of the letter might be of interest to the readership of SWJPCC but there was no good section to pass along the Heartwire article. For this reason, a new Section entitled “News” has been started to report developments outside the usual medical journal purview or from other sources which might interest our readers. We encourage bringing news-worthy articles to our attention and would welcome submission of written reports of such articles.


Entries in board certifiction (1)


ABIM Overhauling MOC

Yesterday, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced proposed changes to their controversial Maintenance of Certification (MOC) (1). One of the biggest changes is an alternative path to recertification. For most physicians, that would mean they would not have to take the long-form test every 10 years, but instead would have a series of more frequent, but less onerous, assessments. To determine the MOC content ABIM will be using physician crowd-sourcing to determine what knowledge is essential for various physicians and what is most relevant to their practices. ABIM is also changing the format for scores so that physicians get more detailed feedback.

ABIM’s MOC program has been controversial (2). MOC has been viewed by most physicians as being irrelevant to their daily practice and a burden (3). This led to the formation of National Board of Physicians and Surgeons which is challenging ABIM’s monopoly on physician internal medicine certification (4).

ABIM claims that MOC is still the best way of assuring physician knowledge and skills in a particular field (1). Two studies were cited. One asserts that the cost of care for Medicare beneficiaries is 2.5% lower among physicians who were obliged to complete MOC than among those who were not (5). The second states death and emergency coronary artery bypass grafting is lower when patients undergoing percutaneous coronary interventions are treated by board-certified interventional cardiologists (6).

However, Paul Teirstein, MD, chief of cardiology and the director of interventional cardiology at Scripps Clinic in La Jolla, California takes issue with ABIM’s assertion. "There's no evidence that MOC, recertification or take-home computer modules improve patient outcomes," he told Medscape Medical News (7). "This is a money-making operation for [ABIM]. It's a tollbooth, and there's no evidence that it helps anybody, and it takes a ton of time." Teirstein also takes issue with the 2.5% reduction in costs which he points out was a reduction in the growth differences in cost, which is much smaller than the 2.5% lower cost the ABIM claims. That same study also shows an increase in emergency room use for patients treated by MOC-required physicians, he added. The second study concluded no “… consistent association between ICARD certification and the outcomes of PCI procedures.” (6).


  1. Baron RJ, Braddock CH III. Perspective: knowing what we don’t know — improving maintenance of certification. New Engl J Med. November 30, 2016 Nov 30 [Epub ahead of print] [CrossRef]
  2. Lowes R. ABIM suspends controversial MOC requirements through 2018. Medscape Medical News December 16, 2015. Available at: (accessed 12/1/16).
  3. Cook DA, Blachman MJ, West CP, Wittich CM. Physician Attitudes About Maintenance of Certification: A Cross-Specialty National Survey. Mayo Clin Proc. 2016 Oct;91(10):1336-45. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  4. (accessed 12/1/16).
  5. Gray BM, Vandergrift JL, Johnston MM, et al. Association between imposition of a Maintenance of Certification requirement and ambulatory care-sensitive hospitalizations and health care costs. JAMA. 2014 Dec 10;312(22):2348-57. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  6. Fiorilli PN, Minges KE, Herrin J, et al. Association of physician certification in interventional cardiology with in-hospital outcomes of percutaneous coronary intervention. Circulation. 2015 Nov 10;132(19):1816-24. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
  7. ABIM leaders say they are revamping MOC requirements. Medscape Medical News. December 1, 2016. Available at: (accessed 12/1/16).

Cite as: Robbins RA. ABIM overhaulding MOC. Southwest J Pulm Crit Care. 2016:13(6):276-7. doi: PDF