February 5th, 2015

The ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification Program: What’s Next?

This week the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) made a public apology as it announced major changes to its maintenance of certification (MoC) program, including a 2-year suspension of its practice assessment, patient voice, and patient safety requirements. As we know, during the past year controversy has been swirling about the ABIM and the planned recertification every two years. However, with this new apology from the ABIM, I don’t know what happens next.

I don’t need an apology. I need a plan. I need to know that the folks caring for me, my family, and my patients are up to snuff. As providers, we all want a way to self-govern and to make quality improvement integral to our professional lives. That’s my goal, at least. I don’t care about the condo (see this Dr. Wes blog post for background). I don’t care that there’s a new board. I just want to do my job and have a plan in place so that standards are high.

Toward that end, I was ready to do my patient surveys. I was even ready to do my quality improvement! But now I don’t know what I’m going to do. Now I have no plan for the next 2 years.

That said, bigger things are going on in the world and in my life, but it would have been nice to have at least this issue squared away. Instead we are left in a state of limbo while this gets figured out.


Are you maintaining your composure as you confront the new announcement about MoC?

Link to the ABIM announcement

4 Responses to “The ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification Program: What’s Next?”

  1. Dr. Ryan –

    Let’s not get impatient. That’s exactly what the ABIM wants – for us to move on, to gloss over these little details like the condo and such. Let’s “fix” MOC, etc. Nothing to see here…

    But what if MOC was created not for the “public’s” benefit, but for the coffers of the ABIM and their Foundation? What if the literature they produced in support of their program was really sophisticated propaganda by people who don’t see patients themselves? What if the revolving door between the ABMS and their subsidiaries like the ABIM, National Quality Forum, and CMS was a carefully designed plot to assure funds flowed freely to the ABMS and their flotilla forever in the name of their own form of “medical professionalism?” What if (God forbid) MOC is not legitimate at all?

    We don’t have to panic. We just have to have answers. Honest answers. And you don’t have to do a thing. In fact, make that your plan.

    Do CME instead. Pick the CME that benefits you most and whose value you and you alone are willing to pay for in the name of your patient’s benefit. That’s what life-long learning is about. It is NOT about doing what the ABIM says you have to do, like taking patient surveys or sitting for some psychometrically-derived computerized test that is not accountable to your patients.

    Put your money where YOU think it’s best.

    And let the ABIM and their friends speak with the authorities and plead their case. When that’s done, THEN let them fight for your money with all of the other offerings already out there like they should have in the first place.

    Now, wouldn’t that work nicely for everyone?

  2. Stephen Fleet, MD says:

    Be happy you don’t have to do time-consuming projects. Do standard MOC modules if you need the points.

  3. Vaughn Payne, MD, MBA, FACC says:

    I will just add here that I appreciate the work of the American College of Cardiology in carrying the banner in the fight against the ABIM. In the past I thought they were snuggly bedfellows, but I’m pretty sure that the MOC requirements would not have been overturned without the valiant efforts of the ACC (and many other societies I’m sure).

    I will also add that hopefully the ABIM will lose some of their arrogance. I called their ofice yesterday inquiring about my status, since I refused to do the practice management portion of the MOC. The person taking my call was friendly and helpful, markedly unlike my experiences with them in the past.

  4. As a physician who has moved out of the USA and practicing in another country (Israel) I no longer need the ABIM. I doubt I will ever do any MOC requirements. I find it abhorrent that the ABIM has “changed the rules” in the middle of the game.

    Lets be very clear. I am a grandfather. I took tests (IM and Cardiology) and was told that I am board certified for life. Now the ABIM finds a way to wiggle out of their contract and thinks they can find another way to get money out of me. Not a chance! This is all about money, not competance or quality of care.

    My pts deserve the very best care. I read over 1 hr/day of cardiology and regularly obtain 10x more than the CME required for my licensure. We are adult enough (as are our pts) to not need big brother ABIM taking control (for a fee of course.)

    I really believe it is time for a class action law suit. If the ABIM believes that shenanigans like this are they way to obtain more money, we should sue them and put them out of business.

    Edward C Horwitz DO, FACC, FACP
    Senior cardiologist, Ichilov hospital, Tel Aviv