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Physicians Could See the MOC Process Streamlined in 2016

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Medical Economics recently compiled a list of the “Top 10 challenges facing physicians in 2016.” So far, these challenges have involved ever-changing payment models, the 2016 elections and healthcare reform, chronic care management, payer consolidation, and the decision to remain independent or seek employment.

In 2016, the MOC battle will continue as “angry physicians wait for promised changes.”

According to the article, this particular challenge applies to those physicians who are “certifying in their sub-specialties through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)” since various changes to the maintenance of certification (MOC) process take effect in 2016.

Richard Baron, MD, president and chief executive officer of ABIM, told Medical Economics that physicians “will see…a more streamlined process for counting continuing medical education (CME) activities towards MOC requirements.” In fact, “…more CME activities will be counted towards fulfilling MOC requirements, and the CME provider will be able to notify the ABIM directly when the physician has satisfactorily completed the course.”

Baron feels this will be a more efficient process and said it’s the result of ABIM’s partnership with the American Council on Continuing Medical Education.

The article reports that the “second change is that physicians will no longer be required to maintain underlying certification in some tertiary specialties, such as interventional cardiology, transplant hepatology, and adolescent medicine.”

ABIM is contemplating another change, Dr. Baron said: “replacing the current 10-year MOC examination with what the task force calls ‘more meaningful, less burdensome assessments.’” But he warned that there would be no changes to this process anytime soon, since ABIM has “confidence that the exam assesses knowledge reliably and well to state-of-the-art testing. But what we’re hearing people say is that once every 10 years is not the best way to do this.”

Over the last two years, another organization has been established to provide physicians with “a simplified and less expensive procedure for certification maintenance” than what ABIM has created.

According to Medical Economics, the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons (NBPAS) currently “has about 2,700 diplomats and18 hospitals in 10 states accepting its certification to grant admitting privileges to physicians.”

“I think we’re having a big impact on shaking up the whole issue of how best to help doctors stay up-to-date with changes in medicine,” Paul Teirstein, MD, founder and president, said. “We’re very pleased with our progress to date,” although he admits that it’s “a very cumbersome process to change bylaws” as hundreds of hospitals debate “whether to accept NPBAS certification.”

Both gentlemen promise “an open dialogue” between the competing certification organizations going forward. As physicians who are looking for a job, have you had any MOC challenges? What is your assessment of the current MOC process? Has it affected your job search in any way?

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