In the US, an 84-year-old doctor is challenging the legality of testing the cognitive abilities of older doctors.

Doctor Lilas G. Mogk filed a lawsuit in federal court against the Henry Ford Health clinic chain, claiming that mandatory cognitive testing of older doctors is discriminatory and violates two federal laws and the same number of Michigan state laws, Medscape reports.

In 2017, the clinic chain where he worked required all employees age 70 and older to undergo cognitive screening, according to the lawsuit. After that, the tests will be repeated every five years, the lawsuit says, and anyone who refuses must voluntarily resign or be fired.

Mogk passed the test, but his test results have not been released. A network spokesman declined to comment.

The number of practicing physicians aged 70 years and older in the United States is growing. The 2021 report showed that they accounted for 12% (over 120 thousand people) of the total number of licensed specialists, compared to 9% in 2010. The share of doctors aged 60-69 years increased over the decade from 16 to 19%.

The number of hospital networks in the United States requiring testing of older physicians is unknown, although various reports suggest there are at least a dozen.

There is evidence that doctors’ performance declines with age. However, age-based cognitive testing may conflict with US federal and state laws prohibiting age discrimination, a professor of law and bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Law commented on the situation (Case Western Reserve University School of Law) Sharona Hoffman. Federal law prohibits age restrictions in hiring, but allows exceptions in areas such as public safety, she noted. For example, pilots, law enforcement officers, firefighters and air traffic controllers may be forced to retire at a certain age.

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