On Jan. 1 2014, new and significant changes were made to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. The new requirements now apply to all certified physicians – including those certified prior to 1990 (a group initially exempt from MOC requirements) – and require specific proactive steps on the part of physicians over the next two years.

MOC Change Impact on My Practice and the ProfessionHowever, slightly more than half (51%) of cardiologists surveyed in October 2013 indicated that they were not aware of these MOC changes. The research also highlighted that a majority of cardiologists believe that Continuing Medical Education (CME) is more valuable than MOC – a statistic that has remained consistent over the past three years. Furthermore, the survey results showed that more than 1 out of 3 cardiologists find little or no value in Part II or Part IV MOC, compared to 25% and 19% who said they found MOC Part II and Part IV as valuable, respectively.

Cardiologists are divided on the impact these MOC changes will have on the practice of medicine. While nearly one-third (30%) of cardiologists surveyed suggested that the impact on the profession will be positive and 19% believed that their specific practice will be positively affected, two out of five cardiologists believed that the changes will have a negative impact on the practice of medicine in general and more specifically on their practice. “In times of declining reimbursement and physicians having to tag on more work, MOC [is] not helping, but just adding more work,” said one cardiologist.

"MOC is a good idea if it helps people keep up with the literature, but if it is burdensome, it may prove to be the straw that broke the camel's back." — Cardiologist, TX

More than 25% of cardiologists surveyed also indicated that the MOC changes will have a direct impact on their future plans, with 11% saying they are planning to retire early, 9% suggesting they will transition to working part time, and 8% indicating plans to transition out of cardiovascular medicine.

Influence of MOC Changes on Future PlansThat being said, more than 50% of survey respondents said the changes will have no bearing on their future planning. In fact, the majority of cardiologists surveyed (51%) said they have enrolled in MOC and are at various stages of the completion process. Additionally, most cardiologists (64%) are planning to recertify since many employers require certification to practice medicine.

The College is using the findings to help guide its three-pronged strategy to help members not only understand, but to meet the new ABIM requirements. “The ACC and its leaders are committed to helping members navigate the very real changes associated with the new ABIM MOC requirements and to minimize the ‘drawbacks and discomforts’ associated with the transition,” said Steven Lloyd, MD, PhD, FACC, and Patrick O’Gara, MD, FACC, in a recent editorial published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology. “We are also equally committed to ensuring that ABIM understands the concerns of the cardiovascular community during these changes.”

Learn more about the MOC changes and ACC resources at ACC.org/MOC.