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AMA Developing Competency Testing for Aging Doctors

The American Medical Association (AMA) is reportedly developing a plan to help decide when it’s time for aging doctors to retire. With one out of four U.S. doctors being older than age 65 numbering now 240,000, the nation’s largest organization of physicians agreed to spearhead an effort to create competency guidelines for assessing whether older physicians can continue to provide safe and effective care for their patients. According to a story by Lindsey Tanner, Association Press (AP) medical writer, doctors have no mandatory retirement age, unlike other professions where mistakes can be deadline, like pilots. States generally license physicians and some hospitals may evaluate a doctor’s medical training, education, malpractice lawsuits and discipline, but there are not national mandates or guidelines to ensure the safety of patients in this way. Tanner reporter that Dr. Louis Borgenicht, a Salt Lake City pediatrician who turned 72 last year recently decided to voluntarily stop performing circumcisions because of a mild tremor in his hands “but otherwise said his age doesn’t affect his work.” The AMA recently met in early June in Chicago for its Annual Meeting. To read Tanner’s entire story, click here.