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Comment & Response
August 2015

American Board of Internal Medicine and Maintenance of Certification Standards

Author Affiliations
  • 1American Board of Internal Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
JAMA Intern Med. 2015;175(8):1424-1425. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.1097

To the Editor The recent study by Cook et al1 provides valuable insight to inform the ongoing efforts of the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) to enhance Maintenance of Certification (MOC). The authors make important suggestions, which are consistent with feedback we have received from others in the internal medicine community. Since the study’s focus groups were conducted (2011-2012), the ABIM has made several changes to MOC that address some of these concerns, and additional changes are under way. In February, 2015, the Practice Assessment requirement was suspended for at least 2 years. Physicians can still get MOC credit for doing improvement work, and there are multiple options for those engaged in that work to get credit. The Mayo Clinic, for example, participates in the MOC Portfolio program, in which physicians involved in approved QI efforts at participating institutions can earn MOC credit. The ABIM will also be allowing many more activities to count toward the Medical Knowledge (Part 2) requirement, including most forms of ACCME accredited CME.. To address the distinct needs of the 20 subspecialties of internal medicine, the ABIM’s new governance structure includes physician-led specialty boards that will help establish discipline-specific standards and facilitate multidirectional communications with other relevant organizations and the larger physician community in each discipline. The ABIM is working to further reduce redundancy by aligning MOC with other physician reporting processes. Several states now accept MOC participation to satisfy Continuing Medical Education requirements for medical licensure renewal. However, the ABIM does not believe that MOC should be required for maintenance of licensure, but we do believe that physicians who engage in MOC should be exempted from other reporting requirements.