Physician News: Changes to Maintenance of Certification

Physician News: Changes to Maintenance of Certification

As of last January, physicians have faced new guidelines in regards to recertification in their medical specialties and subspecialties. Once required to take an exam every ten years, medical boards have requested that physicians test their skills and medical knowledge through a maintenance of certification, or MOC. Currently, requirements of the MOC include taking exams, conducting clinical projects, and continuing medical education classes.

While the MOC’s intention is to focus on quality measures, values-based care, and transparency, many physicians disagree with the MOC requirements. Some believe the MOC does not benefit daily medical practices, the program is costly and inefficient, the MOC takes away from valuable patient-doctor time, and may put private practices at a costly disadvantage.

However, two weeks ago, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) released an apology statement to physicians regarding the MOC program’s effectiveness.

“ABIM clearly got it wrong. We launched programs that weren't ready and we didn't deliver an MOC program that physicians found meaningful. We want to change that. While ABIM's Board believes that a more continuous certification helps all of us keep up with the rapidly changing nature of modern medical practice, it is clear that parts of the new program are not meeting the needs of physicians...”

One factor behind the MOC criticism was the lack of integration within the medical community and the failure to seek physicians’ inputs and values. Taking criticism into consideration, here are some changes being put into effect immediately, according to the official press release by ABIM:

  • Effective immediately, ABIM is suspending the Practice Assessment, Patient Voice, and Patient Safety requirements for at least two years. This means that no internist will have his or her certification status changed for not having completed activities in these areas for at least the next two years. Diplomates who are currently not certified but who have satisfied all requirements for Maintenance of Certification except for the Practice Assessment requirement will be issued a new certificate this year.
  • Within the next six months, ABIM will change the language used to publicly report a diplomate’s MOC status on its website from “meeting MOC requirements” to “participating in MOC.”
  • ABIM is updating the Internal Medicine MOC exam. The update will focus on making the exam more reflective of what physicians in practice are doing, with any changes to be incorporated beginning fall 2015, with more subspecialties to follow.
  • MOC enrollment fees will remain at or below the 2014 levels through at least 2017.
  • By the end of 2015, ABIM will assure new and more flexible ways for internists to demonstrate self-assessment of medical knowledge by recognizing most forms of ACCME-approved Continuing Medical Education.

Because medicine is an ever-changing practice, it’s vital that physicians stay up-to-date within their specialties to meet the needs of their patients. With these most recent changes, ABIM hopes to revise the recertification program for internists to better reflect their opinions, medical specialty, and knowledge.

What is your stance on the new MOC changes? Will these changes help physicians meet the MOC requirements and maintain their medical mind? Or, will the newly revised MOC program still harness criticism and add to physician dissatisfaction?

To read the official press release, click here. (American Board of Internal Medicine)

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