Author + information
- Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC, ACC President∗ ( and )
- Robert Shor, MD, FACC, Chair, ACC Board of Governors
- ↵∗Address correspondence to:
Dr. Kim Allan Williams, Sr., American College of Cardiology, 2400 N Street NW, Washington, DC 20037.
The complex situation presented by the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) changes in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements continues to be a top-of-mind issue for American College of Cardiology (ACC) leadership, staff, and most importantly, the members affected by the changes.
The ACC’s approach to addressing the changes has been careful and deliberate—looking for the best ways to help our members and their patients in proceeding forward. Although at times this approach might lead to assumptions that we are not adequately addressing member concerns, it is important to note that we have made, and continue to make, headway by not only working with ABIM to re-evaluate and change their requirements, but also exploring alternative options to ABIM.
In a recent ACC in Touch Blog post, the ACC’s Executive Leadership explained the College’s approach, saying: “We respect the intelligence of our members in analyzing the best path for continuing education/certification individually and realize that it may not be the same for each of us; we are not wedded to one solution for all” (1). To that end, the College’s Board of Governors is currently fielding a survey to gauge member sentiment. This is a follow-up to last year’s survey that played a significant role is shaping the ACC’s MOC campaign efforts over the past year. At the time, although 90% of those surveyed opposed the changes, nearly 70% of respondents did recommend that the ACC work with the ABIM to revise the requirements. There was also a strong request for the ACC to make more MOC modules available and more easily accessible (2). The results of this latest survey will be shared with the ABIM and will factor into the College’s decision-making in the coming months.
The ACC has also developed 2 separate task forces. The first, led by ACC Immediate Past President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC, is focused on providing continued input to the ABIM to see if the proposed temporary changes become permanent and to see if processes can further improve to become helpful and acceptable to members. The second task force, led by ACC President-Elect Richard Chazal, MD, FACC, is aggressively exploring whether an alternative board should/could be developed or supported by the ACC for our members. Possibilities could include: new board(s), working with already-established alternate boards and/or other organizations, working within or without the American Board of Medical Specialties framework, or something else altogether.
We are working as rapidly as possible, but we must be diligent and cautious; we realize the great complexity of the situation and the need to find a process (or processes) that ensures the highest standards of professionalism and competence in ways that are most meaningful and relevant to our patients, the public, and our members. In the meantime, it is important to note that members currently have alternatives to the ABIM. Options range from joining a new board, waiting to see a final ABIM proposal, or waiting to see if an alternate ACC-sponsored board is feasible and/or needed.
The ABIM’s suspension of MOC Part IV/patient modules earlier this year gives us some potential breathing room, as does the more recent update of the ABIM’s “Application for ABIM MOC Recognition,” which provides more opportunities for physicians to earn MOC Part II points for activities with a self-assessment component that have traditionally been designated as continuing medical education (CME) credits only. The updated ABIM MOC application, if managed correctly, provides an opportunity for physicians to earn CME credits that will simultaneously count toward meeting their 5-year MOC requirements. The College is already talking with the ABIM about how to identify existing educational activities that are well positioned for dual CME/MOC credit, to create a system for submitting new dual-credit activity requests, and to determine how internal tracking of dual-credit activities will occur.
There is still a lot of work to be done in the MOC space. The College realizes this, and there is no question that it is 1 of our highest priorities. We want to thank the many ACC leaders, members, and staff who have stepped up to date to serve on task forces, have responded to surveys, and have provided invaluable feedback on ways to support cardiovascular professionals, while recognizing our commitment to patients. It is issues like MOC that underscore the need for all of us to work together to find the best solutions—and we will!
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Williams K.A. Sr..,
- Chazal R.,
- Walsh M.N.,
- et al.
- O’Gara P.T.,
- Oetgen W.J.