Opinion: R.I. should eliminate red tape on physicians

DR. MICHAEL MONSOUR is a practicing nephrologist and a retired Naval officer.

Regarding the Right to Care bill (S2408/H7964) being considered in the Rhode Island legislature, I would like to ask: how many readers have tried to recruit a physician to come and work in Rhode Island?

I have. It is a difficult prospect. As we know, reimbursements in our state are low, and physicians here are exposed to excessive malpractice claims. Removing unnecessary red tape would be an efficient, low-cost place to make our state more attractive, and ending the requirement that physicians “maintain board certification” would not cost taxpayers anything. It is a relic from the days when all medical knowledge was either printed in limited-edition books or maintained in physicians’ heads.  The ubiquity of digital media have obviated the need for a test of how well one can recall obscure medical facts. Paying fees to a billion dollar corporation hundreds of miles away is no way to ensure the quality of patient care in an exam room in Exeter or Woonsocket.

Other states, including Texas and Maryland have passed similar legislation removing the need for this unnecessary certification, without making Johns Hopkins or MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston any less famous or effective.

As we know, the people of Rhode Island have always led the way in innovation. We should join the twelve other states who have already passed similar legislation to do away with this anachronistic requirement of “maintenance of certification,” and not lose physicians to bolder states who have gone further in eliminating red tape.

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The author, Dr. Michael Monsour, is a nephrologist and a retired Naval officer. He currently resides in Barrington.