What To Expect If OPMC Orders You To Attend A Clinical Competency Assessment

When a physician has been out of practice for some time due to substance abuse or other circumstances, OPMC will often make the attendance by the physician at a Clinical Competency Assessment program as part of the conditions necessary to permit the physician to return to the practice of medicine.  At the end of the assessment, a detailed report will be sent to OPMC with the evaluation of the performance by the physician and their recommendations for further training.  Therefore, it is mandatory that the physician understands the consequences of the assessment report and is ready to perform at the top of his or her game during the assessment.
This assessment is held at various centers around the country but since I am located in New York, my clients usually attend the one offered at Albany Medical College.  The organization, which runs the program at Albany, is called the Patient Safety and Clinical Competency Center, or PSCCC.  This is a two day assessment and it costs the physician approximately $10,000.00.
 
The program starts at 8 am and runs until 5 pm with only a 30 minute break for lunch.¬† Obviously, you have to be ready for this regimen with a good night’s sleep and a solid breakfast before starting.¬†
 
A recent program consisted of a written exam on all aspects of medicine and therefore you had better have done a good deal of study before you go to the assessment. 
 
You also will have to do four or five mock patient encounters which will be video taped.  You will need to know how to take a proper history, do a physical, make a coherent note, come to a differential diagnosis and recommend some reasonable treatment and/or referral.  
 
You might also have to answer a 600 question personality inquiry and the questions there can be a bit strange and, also, you might think they are irrelevant and insulting.  Take my advice and answer the questions without a hint of annoyance.  You want to get a good report out of this travail of tears!!
 
My overall advice on this issue is for you to project a good attitude while you are there for the two days.  Do not, in any way, let on that you think this process is unnecessary, beneath you, a waste of time and money, etc.  The people who are going to write the report that goes to OPMC can really influence your professional life and therefore, you want them to see you as a cooperating person who is dedicated to getting back to the practice of medicine and that you are enjoying the assessment process.  If they feel that you are only going through the motions to get this expensive and unpleasant event over with, the report they send might very well be unfavorable and make it more difficult for you to get back into your practice.