Understanding the New ABIM Requirements

Understanding the New ABIM Requirements

February 3, 2015: ABIM Announces Immediate Changes to the MOC Program

  • 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.

What Do the Changes Mean for Me?

Board certified before 1990 (grandparent)

Your initial certification is valid indefinitely; however, you do still need to enroll in ABIM’s MOC program to be reported as “Participating in MOC”. If you choose not to enroll or miss any of the MOC requirements, you will be reported as “Certified, Not Participating in MOC.”

Board certified after 1990 (before 2014)

You will continue to be certified until your current certification expires. To be reported as “Certified, Participating in MOC,” you will need to enroll in ABIM’s MOC program and complete at least one ABIM-approved activity to earn points by December 31, 2015. Once your current certification expires, you will only be eligible to renew your certification if you are enrolled in MOC and “Participating in MOC”.

Newly certified (2014 and after)

Your certification is contingent upon whether you are meeting MOC requirements at the two, five and 10 year milestones. You must participate in continuous MOC activity to remain certified. 

Important Deadlines and Timelines

“Participating in MOC” means that a physician is engaged in ABIM-approved self-assessment activities on an ongoing basis. Specifically, the MOC program requirements now include two-and five-year milestones as well as passing an MOC exam every 10 years. To continue to be “Participating in MOC,” all ABIM Board Certified physicians will need to meet the following requirements:

  • By December 31, 2015 and every two years thereafter, complete at least one ABIM-approved MOC activity to earn points.
  • By December 31, 2018 and every five years thereafter, earn 100 points. The points earned every two years will count toward your five-year requirement, and also count toward the milestones for the certifications you are maintaining.
  • Pass an MOC exam every 10 years.

Why Did ABIM Rules Change?
  • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has argued that in a profession with a “continually expanding knowledge base,” a mechanism is needed to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with current best practices. The growing knowledge base requires that training and ongoing licensure and certification reflect the need for lifelong learning and evaluation of competencies.
  • Research has shown that the public expects that physicians undergo a rigorous, periodic examination of knowledge and that assessing knowledge and performance every 10 years is not sufficient. ABIM has collected some of this research
  • Board certification is a tangible part of earning the privilege enjoyed by the medical profession to self-regulate. Retaining this privilege and maintaining the trust of patients and the public requires demonstrating that a board certified internist has the requisite knowledge, and knows how to use it.
  • These changes to MOC will also increase the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other physician reporting requirements.

Contact Us

Questions: Contact ASCO staff at 571-483-1418 or moc@asco.org
Feedback: Contact ABIM at 1-800-441-ABIM or MOC2014@abim.org