ABIM Eliminates 'Double Jeopardy' MOC Requirement

In response to input provided by the ACC and other cardiology specialty societies (SCAI, HRS and HFSA) around the American Board of Internal Medicine's (ABIM's) new requirements for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), the ABIM today announced it is eliminating the requirement to maintain underlying certification in a foundational discipline in order to remain certified in a subspecialty. For cardiology, this means that those specializing in interventional, electrophysiology, adult congenital and advanced heart failure will no longer need to pass both the general cardiology and sub-specialty boards.

The ABIM Council unanimously passed the proposal to eliminate this "double jeopardy" provision, noting it was clearly an important topic to the internal medicine community. According to the ABIM, it will begin implementing the new requirement in the coming months, with the change to be fully effective as of Jan. 1, 2016. The change does not affect the requirement for initial certification and applies to the internal medicine subspecialties of hospital medicine and transplant hepatology as well.

This announcement reflects the engagement and collaboration of ACC leaders, as well as the broader internal medicine community, on behalf of their members over the past year and a half. Multiple medical professional societies, including the ACC, have participated in ABIM-convened Internal Medicine Summits over the course of the past year. Eliminating the double jeopardy faced provision has been among the several changes strongly recommended by the College.

The ACC continues to engage with the ABIM to make the MOC process more useful and relevant. In addition to this most recent change, the ABIM released an updated "Application for ABIM MOC Recognition" earlier this year that provides more opportunities for physicians to earn Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part II points for activities with a self-assessment component that have traditionally been designated as CME credits only. Additionally in February, MOC Part IV, patient safety and patient voice requirements were put on hold for at least two years.

However, more work is being done. An ACC Task Force is currently identifying how best to work with the ABIM to address additional recommendations, including the creation of dual pathways for recertification; recognition of ongoing, hospital-based quality improvement and patient surveys as qualifying for MOC accreditation; reduction of fees; development of a modular blueprint that can conform to the practice needs of the cardiologist (testing what the candidate needs to know for his or her practice); improvement in the ease with which accurate and understandable information can be retrieved from the ABIM website; and research into the value of MOC, as measured by physician competency and patient outcomes. A second ACC Task Force is also exploring alternatives to ABIM MOC accreditation, with recommendations of both Task Forces due to the Board of Trustees in August.

Stay tuned to the ACC in Touch Blog for updates on ACC MOC efforts. Additional MOC resources can be found on the College's online MOC Hub at ACC.org/MOC.

Keywords: Accreditation, Certification, Electrophysiology, Heart Failure, Internal Medicine, Self-Assessment, Specialty Boards, Societies, Medical

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