The American Medical Association (AMA) met in June in Chicago at the AMA House of Delegates Meeting to discuss a number of resolutions affecting physicians, and certainly one of the most interesting was Resolution 309: Continuing Medical Education Pathway for Recertification. The resolution, which passed, directs the AMA to “call for the immediate end of any mandatory, recertifying examination by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) or other certifying organizations as part of the recertification process” as part of its maintenance of certification (MOC) process.
Explore This IssueACEP Now: Vol 35 – No 09 – September 2016
What this resolution will mean for physicians and other medical associations is yet to be seen, however. ACEP leadership recently spoke with Barry N. Heller, MD, immediate past president of the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM), to get a clearer view. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.
ACEP: In light of the recently adopted AMA House of Delegates resolution calling for abolishing “high stakes” examinations, what changes do you see taking place with the MOC process?
BH: The short answer is that Resolution 309 will have very little impact on the current path of MOC activities. The ABMS, other specialties, and ABEM have been actively exploring innovations in physician learning and assessment since the beginning of MOC and will continue to do so.
Interestingly, groups within the AMA that were well-informed about MOC, including the Emergency Medicine Section, did not support the elimination of recertification examinations, and many emergency physicians spoke in opposition to the resolution.
Resolution 309 will have very little impact on emergency medicine. As you know, ABEM is constantly reviewing its MOC Program. We’re no longer requiring diplomates to report participation in patient satisfaction or patient experience of care surveys. We’re working with ACEP to provide automatic credit for Improvement in Medical Practice (Part IV) for physicians participating in the Clinical Emergency Data Registry [CEDR]. Finally, in 2017, we’ll be incorporating correct answers and explanations to LLSA [Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment] questions as a part of test feedback. Nearly all of these changes are the direct result of physician suggestions.
The attrition rate of currently certified emergency physicians is only about 1.5 percent per year, and there has been a net annual increase of about 1,200 new ABEM diplomates. I tell you this because despite numerous anecdotal assertions, there’s no evidence that the ABEM MOC Program has had a negative effect on the workforce.