ACC applauds ABIM certification changes

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced that physicians who meet program requirements would not lose their certification if they fail to enroll in ABIM’s maintenance of certification (MOC) program. The changes will mostly effect physicians who recently completed their training and physicians enrolled in fellowship programs.

In January 2014, the ABIM updated its MOC program and added an annual payment option as an alternative to its 10-year fee. However, physicians lost their certification if they did not enroll and did not pay for the program in years they were not required to complete requirements.

ABIM president and CEO Richard J. Baron, MD, MACP, wrote in a blog post that doctors who lost certification because they did not enroll in MOC or pay MOC fees have had their status changed to certified. He added that doctors who want to be considered as participating in MOC must enroll in the program, be current with their payments and meet program requirements. He also wrote that doctors must continue to meet their five and 10 year MOC program milestones to maintain certification.

American College of Cardiology (ACC) President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, said in a statement that the ACC was in favor of the changes.

“By tying together board certification and enrollment in Maintenance of Certification, the American Board of Internal Medicine appeared to devalue the secure examination passed by recently certified physicians, by setting different standards for them compared to those certified in previous years,” Williams said. “The ABIM should be commended for recognizing the negative impact of this policy on current and future employment opportunities, particularly for those in the early stages of their careers, and taking the steps necessary to reverse it.”