The Road to FISE: Need MOC/CME? Get the Free Ones First! Avoid the Cruises. – Dr. Plastic Picker

The Road to FISE: Need MOC/CME? Get the Free Ones First! Avoid the Cruises.

| Posted in Personal Finance Blog - Financially Free to Save the Earth (FISE)


July 19, 2020

by drplasticpicker

FISE stands for Financially Independent to Save the Earth. This is my lofty goal for the world. I believe most physicians, especially pediatricians, care for our earth. But physicians in general are not well known to be good at money management. If I can help my colleagues save some money here or there and more importantly save their time and their well being, than I have hope they will go out into the world and help the earth and help our society. I imagine them all leading Scouting groups on beach cleaning outings. If they have extra cash from being FISE, they can opt out of the Louis Vutton bag ($1000) and instead save 2,000 acres of Peruvian rainforest ($2000) or plant 20,000 trees ($1000).

As busy physicians, we are the target of scammers trying to take our hard earned money. Some of these scammers are our MD colleageus or organizations that use their credentials. Let’s address the world of physician education. We need Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits yearly for our state medical boards, and Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credits for our professional boards to keep on practicing. As a physician in California, I am required to provide proof of 50 hours of CME every 2 years because I am an MD. For a DO, that requirement is 100 hours of CME every 2 years. The Medical Board of California can theoretically audit me but I have only ever heard of one now retired doctor that was audited. You either keep track yourself in case of an audit, or we have a CME office at our HMO that will keep track of our CMEs. You email them at I use that because it is a service that our organization provides.

Mr. Plastic Picker gets a lot of flyers for Radiology CMEs that are part of cruises and vacations. I guess what happens is the family member that is the MD attends lectures, and the family has fun on the cruise. We get a lot of these mailers. I glance at them quickly and then toss them in the recycling. Actually, I’m feeling guilty now becaues they are usually glossy and I’m sure coated in plastic. I’m not even sure if they are recylable. Are they even worth the paper they are printed on? I just found a really funny article on cruising for CMEs written by a former radiology faculty. He writes that the break even point for the CMEs and cruise lines is if they can get about 10 people to sign up with 1-3 faculty. They are usually held in the middle of the ship (the bowels) due to motion. The lectures are at odd hours. The faculty are overscheduled for lectures to reduce cost. The author did not recommend them at all. Now I’m glad we have never gone

When one receives glossy mailer after glossy mailer, there is someone trying to make money off you. Dr. Plastic Picker hates wasting our family’s hard-earned money. I’ve been thinking about Physician Continuing Medical Education and people profiteering off doctors because I just finished my quarterly American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) Maintenance of Certfication (MOC) Cycle. I last took the ABP Boards during my chief residency year. The ABP have an option of instead of sitting and taking the boards again, to do a quarterly MOC online 30-40 questions every 3 months. I think I’m like most people and wait until the last minute. I always did well with standardized tests and these days especially after getting my health back with litter picking, blogging, and eating more vegan foods, my brain works great. I got 91% and I’m pretty happy with myself. The next MOC quarter starts June 30.

I just finished a virtual free CME course that I did along with my old senior residency friend Dr. Young-Ho Yoon He was my senior resident when I was an intern, and when he told me about the CME – I easily fall into our old patterns of intern/senior resident and said of course I would do it. It is not unlike being on call together on the inpatient wards and at 2am he would ask if I wanted to review a certain topic. Even if I was half asleep, I didn’t ever think it was a choice. But Dr. Young-Ho Yoon has always steered me right and again I am grateful that I did the virtual CME with him. We Facebook messaged each other during it and it was fun attending it together as I got to send him nonsensical comments. We attending the Pediatric Dermatology 2020 Best Practices and Innovations. I claimed 5 hours of the available 7 hours credit. It was free. I have already sent the CME certificate to our HMO CME office. That great free conference has been a catalyst for me to write this post to review cost-effective CME/MOC options. Why pay for something when you can get it for free?

I am using this blogpost to keep track of where I am in my CME/MOC credits.

Dr. Plastic Picker’s Recent Cost-Effective CME/MOCs

CME (50) due every 2 years (2019-2020)

CME Credit To Date: ~96 (Need to confirm)

Points due by 2024

Status of ABP MOC Points: 3 years to go!

Part 2 points:  40 / 40
Part 4 points:  25 / 40
Additional pts:  20 / 20

HMO Pediatric Symposium (Oct 21)4 h0Free
COVID-19 Peds Facebook Group8 h 8Free
COVID-19 Peds Facebook Group (June)5 hFree
Hope In Relationship: Bridging Science to Practice (9/10-9/12 Virtual Conference)TBA0220
*PALS HMO sponsored8 h090
Rady’s Children’s Grand Rounds h wk0Free
Pediatric Dermatology 3607 h 0Free
HMO Pediatric Journal Club (4x a year)8 h (2h quarterly)0Free
HMO MOC 4 Vaccines (in development)~10~20Free
HMO Weekly Lectures 2 h month0Free
Journal Club in Peru (I organized)50Free
AAP New Orleans Conference 28 / 42152367!!!
DateMOC PartActivityMOC PointsCME CertificateCost
June 2020Part 2COVID19 Pediatric Group5Free
Jun 3, 2020Part 4COVID-19 Part 4 (ABP)25Free
Jun 3, 2020Part 2COVID-19 Part 2 (ABP)25Free
May 2020Part 2ACES Aware2Free
May 31, 2020Part 2COVID19 Pediatric Group5
Apr 30, 2020Part 2COVID19 Pediatric Group5
Mar 31, 2020Part 2COVID19 Pediatric Group5
Oct 2019Part 22019 National Conference and Exhibition15$2367

2019 AAP NCE New Orleans Cost Breakdown

Category Cost Ways we saved
Conference Fee 850  
Marriot Hotel 625 shared hotel room with Dr. Dear Friend
Plane  420  
Cabs 65 shared cabs
Eating Out 297 We ate fancy! Emeril’s was awesome.
AAP Books 110 Got a Dermatology book I’ve been meaning to buy for years.
TOTAL 2367 It was not cheap!


And that is it! I have been working on this blogpost on and off for several days. I have no regrets going to the AAP Conference in New Orleans with my dear friends and office buddies, but it was EXPENSIVE! I have realized that I just need to take advantage of all the FREE CME/MOC opportunities within my own department, many of them which I actually help create! There is no need to pay for CMEs when there are so many free ones around. I am going to the HOPE conference and there is an opportunity to pay for $100 for CME credit but I actually have more than I need so I’ll save myself the money. We are organizing a CME/MOC 4 about vaccines, and that one will give me enough and I will have finished all my MOC requirements. There is no need to overachieve when meeting your minimum state CME credits or board MOC requirements.

AAP New Orleans was so much fun! But it was a vacation and discretionary expense and excuse to go on vacation with friends.
Fun CME virtually with Dr. Young Ho and Dr. Dear Friend. Made believe I was at Disney. But not as fun as the one is Peru and New Orleans.
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