The American Board of Medical Specialties says “.” This is echoed by my board, the American Board of Pediatrics, who says, “Board certification is a voluntary process that goes above and beyond state licensing requirements for practicing medicine.”
Over the past few years, the definition of “board certified” has changed from a one-time test to an ongoing series of tests, hoops, and fees to maintain certification through the MOC program. Not participating in any portion of the convoluted and expensive MOC program results in loss of board certification, but so what? Board certification, either as initial certification or 20 years into maintaining certification is voluntary, so what’s the big deal?
Well, it turns out, not complying with MOC is a big deal. Not only has the definition of “board certified” changed, apparently so has the definition of “voluntary.”