The voices of sleep physicians have been heard loud and clear.  That is the theme of recent correspondence received by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) regarding its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.

In late April the AASM received a letter from the ABIM Council requesting our input on a proposed change to the ABIM’s MOC requirements. If approved by the ABIM Council and Board of Directors, the proposal would remove the requirement to hold underlying certification in internal medicine or another ABIM subspecialty in order to remain certified in sleep medicine.  We responded with a letter expressing strong support for the proposal, noting that many of our members have conveyed that the existing requirement is unnecessarily burdensome.

This proposal addresses one of the key concerns about the MOC program that the AASM raised in an August 2014 letter to the ABIM.  In that letter the AASM also objected to the high costs of the MOC program and its unnecessary overlap with existing continuing medical education (CME) requirements.

This past February, ABIM responded to the voiced complaints of sleep physicians – and those of our internal medicine colleagues – with an apology and a vow to correct mistakes made in the transition to a “more continuous” MOC program.  Now the ABIM’s proposal to eliminate the requirement for sleep specialists to maintain underlying certification suggests that the push for a more reasonable and relevant MOC program is gathering momentum.

The AASM board of directors takes notice when our members express their professional concerns, and we seek to find meaningful solutions to the core challenges that we all face.  That is why we decided recently to give members free access to the AASM MOC modules – it was a practical way to ease one of the burdens shouldered by our members.

As a regular participant on the ABIM’s Liaison Committee on Certification and Recertification (LCCR), the AASM will continue to monitor the MOC program and give voice to the concerns of sleep specialists who receive subspecialty certification through the ABIM.


Timothy Morgenthaler, MD