CV Organizations Pursue New, Independent Medical Board

The ACC, Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA), Heart Rhythm Society (HRS) and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography & Interventions (SCAI), representing tens of thousands of physicians, are uniting to pursue the creation of a new board for cardiovascular medicine.

Together, the consortium will submit an application to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), requesting an independent medical Board for cardiovascular medicine to pursue a new competency-based approach to continuous certification—one that harnesses the knowledge, skills and attitudes required to sustain professional excellence and care for cardiovascular patients effectively. ABMS remains the only authority widely recognized by the public, regulators and payers for initial and ongoing physician certification in the U.S.

Other cardiovascular organizations, including the American Heart Association (AHA), have applauded the vision and have collaborated in the development of the application. Formal support from the American Heart Association is pending, dependent on official review and consideration by AHA's Board of Directors at its next scheduled meeting.

"It's time to have a dedicated cardiovascular medicine Board of our own; cardiology is a distinct medical specialty and physicians want—and deserve—a clinical competency and continuous certification program that is meaningful to their practice and patients," said ACC President B. Hadley Wilson, MD, FACC. "We know that the cardiovascular community is ready for an independent, self-governed entity, and we are proud to develop this new Board with cardiologists and cardiology organizations at the helm."

The new Board will replace the current "Maintenance of Certification" approach with a pathway to continuous certification and competency, offering diplomates convenience, support, choice and credit for the learning that physicians currently do to keep their knowledge and skills at the highest level.

"The priority of this proposed new Board is to ensure the requirements truly benefit the cardiology community and the patients we serve," said HFSA President John Teerlink, MD, FACC, FHFSA. "The new Board's focus on competence in the pursuit of continuous certification is a needed paradigm shift for the field, and we look forward to future collaborations with the consortium as we submit the application."

The field of cardiology has evolved into a complex specialty distinct from internal medicine, and sustaining relevant continuous certification and competency assessments is fundamental to providing high-value health care. The new Board requirements will de-emphasize timed, high stakes performance exams in the continuous certification process and instead will focus on learning assessments to identify gaps in current knowledge or skills, with recommendations offered on Continuing Medical Education (CME) learning resources and activities to help close the gaps. Importantly, the new Board will be developed and overseen by physicians dedicated to the field of cardiovascular medicine. Transparency into Board operations will be a key priority.

"SCAI is excited to collaborate with the other cardiovascular societies to bring forth the appropriate standards and transparency necessary for cardiovascular medicine certification requirements," said SCAI President George Dangas, MD, PhD, MACC, MSCAI. "As the premier society representing interventional cardiology, we are committed to ensuring that we create a simplified process that speaks to the evolving trends in continuing education and other rising demands of physicians in our current health care landscape."

The application approval process is expected to take several months. If approval is granted by ABMS, it will then take several additional months before initial certification and continuous certification and competency programs would begin.

"The field of cardiology, and the subspecialty of cardiac electrophysiology, have evolved dramatically over the last several decades," said HRS President Jodie L. Hurwitz, MD, FACC, FHRS. "The time is now to create a Board of cardiovascular medicine that can offer our U.S. physician members an innovative approach to maintaining specialized certification that measures the true clinical competence of our diplomates and physicians with relevant educational support."

Over the coming weeks, a number of informational videos, FAQs, and other activities will be shared on that will explain the ABMS application process and answer preliminary questions about what the new Board could entail.

A joint society webinar is also scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 7 p.m. ET and registration is open. In addition, stay tuned for a Heart-to-Heart Presidential Discussion on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at 7 p.m. ET, hosted by Wilson, along with Dangas, Hurwitz, HFSA Immediate Past President Mark Drazner, MD, MSc, FACC, FHFSA, and others.

Keywords: Cardiologists, Cardiology, Certification

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