ABIM discontinues board certification requirements for cardiology subspecialists.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced on July 1 that board-cetified cardiology subspecialists would no longer be required to maintain certifications. The policy will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2016.

Physicians still must become certified in a foundational discipline such as cardiology and their subspecialty, but they will not need to continue to be certified after passing the initial examinations.

ABIM said the following cardiology subspecialties would not have to maintain certification: advanced heart failure and transplant cardiology, clinical cardiac electrophysiology, interventional cardiology and adult congenital heart disease. The following subspecialists will also not have to maintain certification: transplant hepatology, adolescent medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, sleep medicine and sports medicine

The American College of Cardiology (ACC), Heart Rhythm Society, Heart Failure Society of America and Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions were among the medical specialty societies that offered feedback on the policy changes.

“The ‘double jeopardy’ provision of Maintenance of Certification required physicians to maintain certification in their foundational discipline when practicing a subspecialty or sub-subspecialty,” ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, said in a statement. “This provision was welcomed by a few, but perceived as unnecessary by most, in that it required cumbersome additional work and added costs, but less value in terms of clinical reverence. The American College of Cardiology welcomes the news that the American Board of Internal Medicine will eliminate this extra provision after hearing the concerns of the cardiology community and the broader internal medicine community.”