A growing contingent of medical students and faculty are petitioning the elimination of the U.S. Medical Licensing Exam, a costly clinical skills assessment that graduates are required to pass before obtaining a medical license.
As of Wednesday afternoon, close to 11,000 have signed a petition asking that the Step 2 CS be removed as a qualifier of clinical know-how. As STAT News reported earlier this week, the $1,275 test can only be taken in Atlanta, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, and Philadelphia. Ninety-six percent of its applicants pass it on their first try, and it’s generated $36 million in revenue from fees each year. The petition says that there is no research linking passing the test to improving patient outcomes, and argues that individual medical schools would be better—and cheaper and more convenient—judges of skills.
The National Board of Medical Examiners would need to vote and abolish the Step 2 CS test. Its senior vice president told STAT that it’s too onerous to make the medical schools issue a similar test and also “serves a s a sort of quality assurance test.”
The American Medical Association hasn’t taken a side on the debate, but does agree with widening its availability at other sites.