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Maintaining Board Certification Every Two Years

Wed, 04/24/2013 - 8:50am
Dr. Wes Fisher, M.D.

Remember the good ol' days when taking a single board certification examination from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) was good enough to call yourself "board certified" in a medical specialty?

Those were the days.

In 1990, things changed.  Board certifications became time limited.  To remain "board certified," the ABIM stipulated that doctors had to undergo a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) examination every 10 years to remain board certified, even though no data existed then (or now) that such testing achieves the ABIM's stated goals of promoting "lifelong learning and enhancement of the clinical judgment and skills essential for high quality patient care."

Now things are changing again.

I just received a notice in the mail (pdf here) that states the following: beginning 1 January 2014, the ABIM will require that at least one Maintenance of Certification "activity" be performed every TWO years and for EVERY TWO YEARS thereafter.  In addition, doctors will have to earn 100 ABIM "points and complete a patient survey and a patient safety module by December 2018 (in FIVE years and EVERY FIVE YEARS  thereafter). That's right: more testing of doctors and no data to support the testing's ability to maintain a quality physician workforce.

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