ABIM Considers Replacing Its 10-Year MOC Exam

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) on Sept. 16 released a report from the Assessment 2020 Task Force with recommendations that included replacing its 10-year Maintenance of Certification (MOC) exam with more meaningful, less burdensome assessments.

Other recommendations from the task force include to:

  • Focus assessments on cognitive and technical skills — Assessment of cognitive skills assures the public that physicians are staying current with the clinical knowledge relevant to patient care. Assessment of technical skills ensures that physicians can apply that knowledge to adequately perform the technical procedures appropriate to the discipline.
  • Recognize specialization — The Task Force recommends exploring the need for certification in specialized areas, without the requirement to maintain underlying certificates, while being transparent about specialization to the public.

“The Assessment 2020 Task Force members provided useful insights and recommendations that will be instrumental as we reshape certification to meet physicians’ and society’s changing needs,” said Clarence H. Braddock III, MD, chair of the ABIM Board of Directors. “We now need to hear constructive feedback from the internal medicine community on these recommendations, begin to determine their feasibility and develop implementation plans where needed.”

Physician advocacy also is vital. You can let your voice be heard by nominating yourself to serve on various ABIM boards and committees.

“Decisions are made by those who show up,” said PAMED Board Chair David Talenti, MD. “We need to be eager to help.”

The Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) has been involved in many advocacy efforts to improve MOC for Pennsylvania physicians, and such efforts, in addition to efforts by other stakeholders, have led to previously announced changes, including:

  • An August 2015 announcement that the ABIM was reversing its policy requiring physicians who have passed the initial certification exam in 2014 or later to have enrolled in the MOC process in order to be listed as board certified, meaning that physicians who are meeting all other program requirements will not lose certification simply for failure to enroll in MOC.
  • A February 2015 announcement that, among other changes, the ABIM was suspending its Practice Assessment, Patient Voice, and Patient Safety requirements for at least two years, and updating the Internal Medicine MOC exam.

Our advocacy efforts don’t end there. In mid-August, the PAMED board approved the following next steps:

  • Draft a resolution to be presented at the American Medical Association (AMA) November meeting calling on the AMA to only support recertification processes that meet the 20 existing AMA MOC principles (Note: The principles listed at this link do not include the three added at the AMA meeting in June 2015 that are noted below), and oppose those that don’t.
  • Explore reaching out to the Liaison Committee for Specialty Boards (LCSB), an organization sponsored by ABMS and AMA/CME.
  • Explore non-AMA alternatives to board certification, such as the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS)

PAMED applauds the ABIM for making strides toward improving the MOC process for physicians, and looks forward to continuing the discussion.