ABIM Prolongs Decision to Suspend Certain MOC Modules

In response to feedback from physicians, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced this week that certain unpopular components of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program will not be reintroduced until 2018.

The practice assessment, patient voice, and patient safety modules—announced as part of an overhaul of the MOC program in January 2014—have previously been criticized as a “waste of time” by several physicians. In February of this year, the ABIM reacted to widespread clinician discontent by issuing an apology and describing several immediate changes they would make, including a 2-year suspension of the aforementioned modules.

“We have heard from many stakeholders that it is good for patients when physicians regularly evaluate and improve the quality of their care, but we have learned there are a myriad of ways physicians do this today, and that our MOC program should credit clinically meaningful activities,” Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of ABIM, said in a statement.

The organization plans to continue incorporating quality improvement activities into MOC, he noted, “but we are not prepared, at this point, to reinstate the practice assessment, patient voice, and patient safety requirements.”

The statement also hints at the potential for ABIM to count certain CME activities for MOC credit going forward.

Professional Societies React

About 2 weeks ago, American College of Cardiology (ACC) leadership sent a letter to Baron asking for:

  • Replacing the examination that physicians must take every 10 years with “more meaningful, less burdensome assessments”
  • Switching the focus of assessments to cognitive and technical skills
  • Recognizing specialists by not requiring them to also maintain “underlying certificates”

“We see this as a real opportunity for the ABIM to focus on actually helping facilitate true improvement in physician knowledge and the ability to ‘keep up,’ rather than simple testing and certification,” the letter concludes.

ACC President Kim Allan Williams, MD, told TCTMD in an email that the organization is “hopeful that the ABIM will tailor the final [MOC] plan to be consistent with the College’s opinions and allow clinicians to maintain and demonstrate competence as it relates to patient outcomes, quality, care and cost-effectiveness. This is an utmost priority for the College.”

Meanwhile, a message from SCAI’s president to its members on Wednesday took some credit for the ABIM announcement, declaring that “input from SCAI and other specialty societies greatly influenced today’s announcement and have led to several significant programmatic changes over the last two years.” 

American Board of Internal Medicine. ABIM Extends Practice Assessment Decision through 2018 [press release]. http://www.abim.org/news/abim-extends-practice-assessment-decision-through-2018.aspx. Published: December 16, 2015. Accessed: December 17, 2015.

Related Stories: