ABIM Announces Latest MOC Change in Response to Internal Medicine Community: ACC Leaders Issue Recommendations Charting College's MOC Path Forward

The Pulse of ACC | In a major reversal, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced it is reversing its policy requiring physicians who have passed the initial Certification exam in 2014 or later to have enrolled in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process in order to be listed as board certified. Effective immediately, physicians who are meeting all other programmatic requirements will not lose certification simply for failure to enroll in MOC.

"By tying together board certification and enrollment in Maintenance of Certification, the ABIM set different standards for recently certified physicians compared to those certified in previous years. The ABIM should be commended for recognizing the negative impact of this policy on current and future employment opportunities, particularly for those in the early stages of their careers, and taking the steps necessary to reverse it," said ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Under the new policy, physicians who lost certification solely on the basis of failure to enroll in MOC or to pay MOC fees have had their certification status updated to "Certified" on the ABIM's website. However, those wishing to be reported as "Participating in MOC" must be enrolled in the MOC program, be current with their payments and be meeting ongoing program requirements. Physicians who earned initial certification since 2013 or renewed certification since 2014 and who no longer wish to be enrolled in MOC in 2015 as a result of this policy change may be eligible for a refund of their 2015 MOC enrollment fee(s). Those receiving a refund will be reported as "Certified, Not Participating in MOC." Finally, physicians must still meet five- and 10-year MOC program milestones to maintain their certification.

This recent ABIM decision follows several other major changes to MOC over the last year that have occurred as a result of continued advocacy by the ACC, other cardiology specialty societies and internal medicine stakeholders on behalf of their members. "The ACC and its members are being heard and this will no doubt continue," said Williams.

Moving forward, the ACC's Board of Trustees approved the following five motions at its August meeting based on recommendations from the two task forces charged with identifying how best to work with the ABIM and exploring alternatives to ABIM MOC certification, respectively:

  • ACC Immediate Past President Patrick T. O'Gara, MD, MACC, and ACC Executive Vice President of Science, Quality and Education William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, were appointed as liaisons for continued communications with ABIM.
  • The ACC will work with ABIM to develop a new externally validated process for maintenance of competence to replace the 10-year exam.
  • The ACC will work with ABIM to research best practices for maintenance and demonstration of competence with eventual linkages to patient outcomes, cost and cost-effectiveness.
  • The ACC will support efforts to integrate federally mandated elements related to Part IV and patient experience into existing hospital and practice programs.
  • The ACC will continue its work toward an alternative board pending ongoing discussions with ABIM.

Details of the MOC changes can be read on the ACC in Touch Blog and can be found on ACC's online MOC hub at ACC.org/MOC.

Keywords: Cardiology Magazine, Certification, Education, Continuing

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