ABIM Called “Humble” for Admitting They “Got it Wrong” on MOC

One of the residents emailed me a link to the recent Medscape article about the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) admitting it went way overboard on the changes in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, “ABIM on MOC: “We Got It Wrong,” See my tweet below:

The article was published online just yesterday and already there are over 200 comments from physicians who basically say the ABIM apology is too little, too late.

ABIM President and CEO Richard Baron, MD wrote a letter to diplomates which said, “We got it wrong and sincerely apologize. We launched programs that weren’t ready and we didn’t deliver an MOC [Maintenance of Certification] program that physicians found meaningful. We want to change that.”

Some doctors raised their eyebrows a little because the ABIM is not known for its humility. Because the move to apologize did not appear until just after the creation of an alternative board (National Board of Physicians and Surgeons) by Scripps Clinic chief cardiologist Paul Teirstein, MD, there is widespread skepticism of the sincerity of the gesture although the simplification of parts of the MOC process are definitely a step in the right direction. It’s an important piece of news for our residents in the combined Internal Medicine-Psychiatry and Family Medicine-Psychiatry training programs.

According to the story by Alicia Ault, the changes include:

  • Assuring doctors won’t see an increase in MOC enrollment fees until at least 2017.
  • Suspension of the requirement to complete the Practice Assessment, Patient Voice, and Patient Safety Modules for at least the next two years.
  • Doctors won’t see a change in their certification status if they haven’t completed the above modules. If they’re not certified, but have met all MOC requirements except for the Practice Assessment module, they’ll get a new certificate in 2015.

The American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) is also getting it wrong although, in all fairness, no specialty board has done more than the ABIM to frustrate doctors by piling on complex and irrelevant busywork which takes time away from patient care but accomplishes little else.

Incidentally, a friend reminded me about the Red Pants Revolution for Lifelong Learning and encouraged me to break out the red pants given this new development in the ongoing drive to find the best way to embody the principle of lifelong learning. I thought it would a good day to wear the red pants. So far, people get a kick out of them. I remembered to include Nigella, our mascot for the psychiatry consult service–just as a reminder to stay humble.

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  1. The socks are perfect. And the ABIM is just saying, “Oops.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • I wonder what Larry Faulkner, MD, President and CEO of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), would look like in red pants? And if he wore red socks, would that make it easier for him to say to us, “We’re sorry. We got it wrong”?


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