Last month the AASM sent a letter on behalf of our members to the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) expressing concerns about the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

The AASM recently received a response from the ABIM. Dr. Ilene Rosen, a member of the AASM Board of Directors who regularly participates on the ABIM’s Liaison Committee on Certification and Recertification (LCCR), provides the following summary of the ABIM response:

1) The ABIM has demonstrated an awareness of the high cost of MOC to diplomates with multiple certifications:

  • There is an attempt to reduce the cost via a special multi-certification rate and discount on MOC fees if an AASM member is certified in Sleep Medicine by another American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) board.
  • There is also a consideration of those diplomates who are in fellowships and need to participate in continuous MOC with fee waivers and/or fee credits.

2) In the near future, AASM members can expect the following from the ABIM:

  • The ABIM will soon present a plan that allows certain ACCME-accredited activities to count for MOC credit as well. The overall goal is to reduce educational redundancy. (Fall 2014)
  • The ABIM is currently streamlining its process for approving products for MOC, which should enable the AASM to offer more products directly to our members that can count toward MOC. (Fall 2014)
  • The ABIM indicates that it will announce lower rates for those individuals who need to retake the MOC exam for the first time. (Jan 2015)

3) On behalf of our members the AASM remains actively engaged with the ABIM on these issues:

  • As the ABIM reconsiders the terminology of reporting participation in MOC on its website, AASM continues to voice the concerns of time-unlimited diplomates in the current reporting system.
  • The AASM will continue to encourage the ABIM to streamline the process to offer products that suffice for MOC II and IV requirements.
  • The AASM will continue to urge the ABIM to expedite greater representation for the field of sleep medicine. Under its new governance structure, the ABIM intends to form specialty-specific groups that will define, refine and set standards for specialty certification and MOC. However, according to the ABIM’s current timeline, sleep medicine representation isn’t scheduled to be implemented until the second half of 2015.
  • Once greater representation for sleep medicine is achieved, the AASM will ask for a reconsideration of the current requirement that diplomates in sleep medicine must maintain multiple certifications. It is anticipated that a change in this requirement will take significant work to coordinate, since the sleep medicine certification is sponsored by multiple specialty boards; however, the goal is for the requirement to be changed in the near future.

The AASM will continue to engage the ABIM on behalf of the sleep medicine community and will keep members updated on any changes in the MOC program requirements.