I am writing on behalf of SCAI's Executive Committee and MOC Working Group to update you on SCAI's interactions with ABIM and on our efforts to improve the ABIM's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. The progress I am reporting today is a direct result of advocacy efforts by SCAI and its sister organizations in Cardiology, the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) and the Heart Rhythm Society (HRS). I strongly believe that we are on a path toward positive outcomes for SCAI members.
As you know from prior communications from SCAI 2013–14 President Ted Bass and from me, SCAI has identified mitigating ABIM's burdensome MOC requirements as a top priority. We have led an effort to bring the cardiovascular community together while focusing on the concerns of interventional cardiologists, who as subspecialists are among the physicians most affected by the ABIM's current requirements. Early this month in Philadelphia, SCAI MOC Working Group Chair Alan Yeung and I represented SCAI at an ABIM-hosted meeting of 26 societies. We stressed the following:
- ABIM should streamline the recertification and MOC process for the tertiary subspecialist by only requiring recertification in that subspecialty.
- Physicians should be labeled as "Board Certified" and then, if qualified, as "Meeting Additional MOC Requirements." The punitive label "Not Meeting MOC Requirements" should be eliminated.
- ABIM should delegate some responsibility to professional societies/organizations, perhaps as an RFP process, to improve Parts II and IV products.
- Parts II and IV MOC requirements should be aligned with existing CME initiatives. The current requirements are confusing and redundant and should be revised or eliminated.
This week, we received communication from ABIM leaders indicating that changes to MOC are underway. I am pleased to report that all of the concerns SCAI raised at the meeting were addressed in the ABIM letter. Specifically, the letter indicates that --
- The ABIM Council will charge each specialty board with addressing the question of whether underlying certifications are required for tertiary specialists.
- ABIM's Board of directors will discuss website language for "Meeting MOC Requirements."
- ABIM will explore pricing options, whereby diplomates, over their 10-year exam cycle, could opt in or opt out of access to ABIM products. Those who opt out would receive a discount on their MOC fee. The ABIM will accelerate the process for recognizing products produced by specialty societies/organizations.
- In states where licensure includes required CME, MOC should count for those requirements. In the long run, better alignment of MOC with CME should be achieved.
It is clear to me that SCAI is well-positioned to continue moving this important issue forward. While our key concerns have been heard and are being addressed, our working group remains concerned about, and focused in the short term, on the following:
- Limiting recertification and MOC requirements to one's subspecialty level of practice
- Ensuring that the MOC process is relevant and not needlessly burdensome
- Delegating significant, if not complete, oversight of Part II and Part IV to the professional societies/organizations
I assure you that SCAI continues to consider this effort a top priority. SCAI will continue advocating for processes that help physicians maintain competence without being burdensome in terms of physicians' time or fees. We will continue to insist that the current MOC process and requirements must be re-evaluated to deliver true value for physicians and the patients we serve.
As a practicing interventional cardiologist myself and, as this year's SCAI president, I offer my thanks to Alan, the Society's MOC Working Group, and the many members who have contributed their voices to this dialogue. As always, please contact me anytime at president@SCAI.org.
Charles Chambers, MD, FSCAI
SCAI President, 2014–15