On July 1, 2015, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced that diplomates certified in sleep medicine will no longer need to maintain underlying certification in internal medicine or another ABIM subspecialty in order to remain certified in sleep medicine. The new policy, which goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2016, also removes requirements of underlying certification for eight other subspecialties. All ABIM diplomates will be able to choose the certifications they wish to maintain.

The announcement follows nearly a year of advocacy by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), which conveyed several concerns about the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program in an August 2014 letter to the ABIM. Most recently, in May 2015, the AASM submitted to the ABIM a letter expressing strong support for the proposal to remove the overly burdensome requirement to hold underlying certification.

According to the ABIM, physicians scheduled for a Fall 2015 MOC exam in an underlying certification area will no longer need to take the exam to remain certified in sleep medicine. ABIM’s exam cancellation policy will apply to diplomates who choose to cancel their exam registration. Over the next few weeks, ABIM will reach out directly to all diplomates affected by this policy change.

The policy change does not affect the requirements for initial certification in sleep medicine. Physicians still need to be certified in a foundational discipline before earning initial sleep medicine certification.

Read the complete announcement on the ABIM website: ABIM Will Discontinue Requirement for Maintaining Underlying Board Certification