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Maintenance of Certification

Are you a physician who plans to renew your specialty board certification?

If so, there have been several changes to the recertification process recently for American Board of Medical Specialties member organizations. Below you can find helpful information if you are planning to recertify.

What is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)?

The ABMS is the organization that partners with its 24 member boards in developing and overseeing clinical competency standards for board-certified physicians. ABMS and its Member Boards were created as a public service that would enable patients to determine whether their physicians were appropriately trained and knowledgeable in their specialties. The ABMS provides information regarding certification to consumers and professional organizations. You can find out more at http://www.abms.org.

Who are the ABMS Member Boards?

The official ABMS Member Boards and Associate Members are:

  • American Board of Allergy and Immunology
  • American Board of Anesthesiology
  • American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery
  • American Board of Dermatology
  • American Board of Emergency Medicine
  • American Board of Family Medicine
  • American Board of Internal Medicine
  • American Board of Medical Genetics
  • American Board of Neurological Surgery
  • American Board of Nuclear Medicine
  • American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
  • American Board of Ophthalmology
  • American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
  • American Board of Otolaryngology
  • American Board of Pathology
  • American Board of Pediatrics
  • American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
  • American Board of Plastic Surgery
  • American Board of Preventive Medicine
  • American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology
  • American Board of Radiology
  • American Board of Surgery
  • American Board of Thoracic Surgery
  • American Board of Urology

More information about each is available on the Overview of Member Board Requirements.

What is Maintenance of Certification (MOC)?

The ABMS MOC® program is an active process of assessment and continuous professional development (also called Continuous Certification) that requires participants to keep pace and demonstrate ongoing competency with advances in the field of medicine throughout their entire careers. In 2000, the ABMS Member Boards began the process of moving toward a continuous, competency-based recertification process using the same six core competencies adopted by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME):

  • Patient Care and Procedural Skills
    Provide care that is compassionate, appropriate and effective treatment for health problems and to promote health.
  • Medical Knowledge
    Demonstrate knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical and cognate sciences and their application in patient care.
  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
    Able to investigate and evaluate their patient care practices, appraise and assimilate scientific evidence and improve their practice of medicine.
  • Systems-based Practice
    Demonstrate awareness of and responsibility to larger context and systems of healthcare. Be able to call on system resources to provide optimal care (e.g. coordinating care across sites or serving as the primary case manager when care involves multiple specialties, professions or sites).
  • Professionalism
    Demonstrate a commitment to carrying out professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles and sensitivity to diverse patient populations.
  • Interpersonal Skills and Communication
    Demonstrate skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families and professional associates (e.g. fostering a therapeutic relationship that is ethically sounds, uses effective listening skills with non-verbal and verbal communication; working as both a team member and at times as a leader).

To ensure this ongoing professional development, the ABMS adopted a four-part process for maintaining certification.

Individual Member Boards differ in their specific requirements for each of the four parts. See the Overview of Member Board Requirements page for a comparison of the basic requirements from each Member Board. Many Member Boards are in the process of transitioning to increased requirements for MOC. Each website of these Member Boards will indicate the specific requirements according to the year of initial board certification.

Visit our F.A.Q. page for answers to common questions about MOC.

How Can IU CME Support Your MOC Efforts?

MOC is analogous to the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ system used in CME, in that MOC recommends the same kinds of desirable physician attributes that certified CME has had since the ACCME revamped its accreditation criteria in 2006 to focus on changes in competence, performance and patient outcomes. This allows physicians to demonstrate that they’re participating in programs and educational activities that are linked to competency and tagged to their scope of practice.

Most Member Boards require proof of CME activities for Part II of MOC. IUSM CME can help satisfy this requirement in several ways:

  • IUSM CME can help you track CME credit information and provide you with data. If you’ve participated in CME-certified activities either in live conferences or self-study formats through Indiana University, visit our transcripts page to acquire a credit summary or transcript of your involvement. Certificates of participation can be printed from here.
  • Busy clinicians can take advantage of Point of Care CME that allows you to claim credit for literature searches that you are doing already to find the answers to clinical questions. All you have to do is document your clinical question and references to claim CME credit.
  • If you choose to do a small quality improvement project in your clinic or hospital, you can earn up to 20 CME credits through our Performance Improvement CME program. By providing some basic documentation about your quality improvement project, you can earn credit for the work you did. Additionally, some Member Boards allow Part IV MOC credit for a self-designed improvement project. Read more about Part IV and visit your Member Board website to determine if your project satisfies Part IV MOC requirements.

IUSM CME provides this information as an introduction about the MOC process. For information particular to your specialty, visit the Overview of Member Board Requirements. Still have questions? Contact IUSM CME at cme@iu.edu and we can link you with someone in your specialty who can help answer your questions about MOC.