Until recently, board certification was granted for life, after several years of additional specialty training and passing rigorous examinations. It is now generally time-limited, though older physicians are “grandfathered.”
Recertification is supposedly “voluntary.” The specialty boards, though, in collusion with hospitals and insurers, are making every effort to see that physicians who do not recertify will have great difficulty earning a living. They even would like to tie use of their lucrative product to renewal of a medical license.
Specialty boards admit on their own websites that failure to achieve certification or recertification does not mean that a person is not a competent physician. Some of the best physicians were never certified — and are often chosen by their colleagues as physicians for themselves or their family.
It makes sense that one does not become a better physician by reporting patient data to board bureaucrats, taking expensive courses focused on possible exam questions rather than problems one’s patients might have, or traveling to remote locations for a “secure” examination.