PAMED Continues to Push for Changes to MOC On Behalf of Physicians

At its meeting on Aug. 12, 2015, the Pennsylvania Medical Society (PAMED) Board of Trustees, among other items, took action to continue its efforts to address physician concerns with Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

These next steps included that PAMED:

  • 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)

Initiatives PAMED Has Been Involved in to Improve MOC
For much of the past year, PAMED, many of its member physicians that served on a task force, and other stakeholder groups, including affected specialty and subspecialty organizations, have been actively involved in working to address physician concerns about MOC, and particularly the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) version of MOC, engaging in several initiatives to make the process fairer and less burdensome for physicians.

These initiatives included:

  • On Dec. 2, 2014, the Philadelphia County Medical Society hosted an MOC debate. Charles Cutler, MD, PAMED’s vice president, and Richard Baron, MD, president and CEO of the ABIM, spoke at the debate.
  • On Feb. 3, 2015, possibly as a result of the PAMED initiatives, the ABIM announced that it was suspending its Practice Assessment, Patient Voice, and Patient Safety requirements for at least two years, and updating the Internal Medicine MOC exam.  PAMED has continued to meet with the ABIM since then to seek additional reforms.
  • On March 6, 2015, PAMED held an MOC Summit in Philadelphia that brought together state medical society leaders and several national partner groups to discuss next steps to address physician concerns.
  • PAMED hosted a well-attended meeting of state medical societies at the AMA meeting in Chicago on June 9, 2015, and introduced a resolution at that meeting. While the PAMED resolution was not adopted, it resulted in the adoption of a substitute resolution adding the following to the existing 17 AMA principles regarding Maintenance of Certification:
    • Any assessment tests should be used to guide physicians’ self-directed CME study, and should never be punitive.
    • Specific content-based feedback after any assessment tests should be provided to physicians in a timely manner so physicians know what they got wrong and why, and utilize the information in a beneficial manner.
    • There should be multiple options for how an assessment could be structured to accommodate different learning styles.
  • In early August 2015, the ABIM announced another step in working to make MOC process better for physicians. It is 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. Effective immediately, physicians who are meeting all other program requirements will not lose certification simply for failure to enroll in MOC. Advocacy from stakeholders, such as PAMED and its member physicians, was likely key in this decision.

PAMED’s efforts are ongoing. Stay tuned to the Daily Dose (PAMED’s daily, all-member email) and the PAMED website at for updates.