A Joint Message from ABIM and Cardiology Specialty Societies

A Joint Message from ABIM and Cardiology Specialty Societies

Leaders at the four major cardiovascular specialty societies — the American College of Cardiology, Heart Failure Society of America, Heart Rhythm Society and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions — recently became aware that their members had questions about ABIM’s MOC point requirements. There were also concerns that some physicians who intended to remain certified had missed important deadlines impacting their certification status.

The four societies reached out to ABIM, and the five organizations worked closely to draft a communication to their respective communities informing them of the issue and how they could take action to regain certification. A version of that communication is found below, and each organization has customized it for their audience.  

While the impetus of the letter came from the cardiology community, the steps outlined in it are applicable to any physician. This is an extension of the communications campaign ABIM undertook throughout much of last year. As 2018 marked the first five-year milestone for many physicians to earn 100 MOC points, ABIM conducted extensive outreach to inform physicians about their requirements — and how to meet them — through emails, blog posts, newsletter articles, social media, web content and post cards. These communications resulted in a very high percentage of diplomates meeting the 100 point requirement.

As we collectively work to support physicians in their efforts to maintain their certification, medical specialty societies play an important role in spreading the message about how to do it. ABIM is reaching out to leaders at other specialty societies to offer a similar communication for their members and identify opportunities for closer collaboration in the future.

It is hard work to stay current in the field of internal medicine, and ABIM deeply respects the time and commitment physicians dedicate to maintaining their certification. If any physician has questions about what they need to do to regain certification please contact us at 1-800-441-ABIM or request@abim.org.

Leaders from the ACC, Heart Rhythm Society, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, Heart Failure Society of America and American Board of Internal Medicine sent the following joint letter to their respective members on May 28 regarding Maintenance of Certification status changes:

Dear Member:

We are writing to provide information of interest regarding cardiologists’ American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) certification status.

On Jan. 1, 2014, ABIM Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements changed. In addition to the 10-year assessment requirement, diplomates wanting to maintain their certification are required to complete 100 MOC points every five years. The end of the first five-year period for many diplomates was Dec. 31, 2018.

Early in 2018, ABIM noted that a number of diplomates were at risk of missing the 100-point requirement. ABIM initiated an intense effort to communicate with these diplomates. This resulted in a high percentage of cardiologists across all specialties obtaining enough points to remain certified before ABIM updated its public reporting in February 2019. When looked at through the lens of specific certificates, 94 percent of cardiovascular medicine certificates, 88 percent of electrophysiology certificates, 84 percent of interventional certificates and 100 percent of heart failure certificates were held by diplomates who met the 100-point threshold. Additionally, physicians who had not met their points requirement saw their certification status change to “Not Certified.”

The leadership of the four major cardiovascular specialty societies – the American College of Cardiology (ACC), Heart Rhythm Society (HRS), Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI), and Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) – realized that many cardiologists who had intended to remain certified were somehow unaware of the new process and missed the deadline. Therefore, they initiated a call with the ABIM leadership to discuss opportunities for those cardiologists to bring their certification into good standing.

If you are one of those whose certification status has changed – or if you’d like to confirm what you need to do next – please follow these steps:

  • Log into the ABIM Physician Portal of the ABIM website to learn more about your specific MOC requirements.
    • Once logged in, red icons will show areas in need of attention.
    • You can review your specific assessment, point and attestation requirements by selecting “Menu,” “Home/Status” and then “My Assessments & Certificates” or “My MOC Points.”
    • You can also update your contact information to ensure you are receiving ABIM communications by selecting “Profile,” then “My Profile” and expanding “Contact Information.”
  • If you are not certified because you need MOC points, you can become certified again almost immediately by completing the required number of outstanding points. ABIM’s collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) provides the opportunity for ABIM Board Certified physicians to earn MOC points for thousands of accredited CME activities, including many offered by one of the cardiology societies. Once you complete an activity, the CME provider will collect and submit your completed information so that ABIM may award your ABIM MOC points. (Note: the individual CME provider determines the timeframe and deadline for claiming MOC points.)
  • Multiple other opportunities to earn MOC points are available, and some of these MOC points are provided free of charge. For example, 202 medical knowledge activities offering 158 points, can be accessed by any cardiologist free of charge at the ACC Online Learning Catalog. Additionally, ABIM Annual Updates are available at the ABIM website.
  • If your hospital, payer or employer credentialing committees have raised concerns, ABIM will work with you to provide a letter that can be shared with them outlining what you need to remedy any temporary loss of certification. To discuss such a letter with ABIM, please see the contact information below.  

We hope that this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions about your specific ABIM status, please contact ABIM directly at 1-800-441-ABIM or request@abim.org. For additional information about medical knowledge opportunities, please contact ACC Member Care at resource@acc.org. We know how important successfully maintaining certification is to you; all of our organizations are working together to offer you the smoothest possible path to make that happen.

Sincerely yours,

Richard J. Kovacs, MD, FACC
ACC President

Andrea M. Russo, MD, FHRS
HRS President

Ehtisham Mahmud, MD, FSCAI
SCAI President

Randall C. Starling, MD, MPH, FHFSA
HFSA President

Richard J. Baron, MD 
ABIM President and CEO

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