MOC: Proof for Patients

MOC: Proof for Patients

Moshe Chasky, MD, is ABIM Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Hematology and Medical Oncology.


When I first learned about the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM)’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program, frankly, I was a skeptic and I questioned its value. All physicians try to keep up but there is so much material to read and so many different lectures to attend – how does one know what is going to be important to know on a daily basis?

Still, I gave MOC a try and found that preparing for the exam gave me the motivation to learn things that I may not have known before. And in taking and passing that exam, I became more confident as a physician, knowing that an objective entity (ABIM) saw me as qualified to take care of patients. Going through this process really changed my perspective of MOC.

ABIM board certification is an important marker that distinguishes me from those who are not certified. It demonstrates to my peers and patients that I am continually meeting high standards and maintaining the knowledge I need to treat patients in my specialty areas.

When you take care of a patient in a field like medical oncology, they’ve received one of the worst diagnosis that they’ve had in their life, so it’s important to instill confidence in them that they they’re coming to a physician who has met high standards.

When I practiced at a well-known cancer institution, I was looked at as a brilliant physician—even before I walked in the room—because I had my institution’s name to vouch for me. When I went out into private community practice, I wondered how patients would know that they’re getting a qualified physician who’s taking care of their problem without the big institution name.

Patients need to be aware that when a doctor is ABIM Board Certified, they have passed a test showing their ability to take care of patients, and they have not only passed that test once but have done so regularly to maintain that certification. A patient can look at an ABIM certificate as proof that a physician has passed an objective exam and feel confident that their physician has the most current medical knowledge.