ACR Issues Maintenance of Certification Position Statement

Jennifer Garcia

August 28, 2015

In response to recent reforms regarding maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) has issued a physician-driven MOC position statement.

The statement followed 3 months of collaboration between the ACR leadership and its members, and outlines seven key positions the college feels should be considered by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) as they develop future MOC requirements. These positions include the belief that:

  • The ABIM should eliminate the closed-book MOC examination, as it is does not appropriately assess "clinical knowledge or decision-making for the purpose of recertification."

  • The current MOC program does not meet the specific educational needs of rheumatologists, and therefore, physicians should be allowed to develop tailored continuing medical education plans relevant to their particular professional roles.

  • Requirements that measure and report the quality of patient care (eg, patient voice and patient safety requirements) should be removed from the MOC process, as they are already evaluated as part of other required assessments (e.g., the Physician Quality Reporting System).

  • External, independent review of the MOC program should be funded by the ABIM to evaluate all policies and procedures; further, the ABIM should agree to revise the program if external review does not demonstrate a positive effect on patient care.

In addition to these positions, the ACR statement points out the need for evidence the program improves physician competence as well as the need to reduce program costs.

"We share the same goal of ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of care available, but we have identified numerous areas where the current MOC process fails in this aim while substantially adding to physicians' administrative and cost burdens," Joel Block, MD, chair of the ACR Committee on Education, said in an ABIM news release. "It is our desire to see barriers that prevent our members from pursuing meaningful educational activities in order to meet MOC requirements removed."

The entire positon statement is available on the ACR website.

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