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ABIM, ACC Unveil New Option for Cardiologists to Maintain Their Board Certification

March 15, 2019  |  Posted by ABIM  |  Announcements, MOC, News

New Orleans, LA, March 15, 2019 –The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) and the American College of Cardiology (ACC) have announced a new Collaborative Maintenance Pathway (CMP) option for certified cardiologists who wish to maintain their board certification. The new option, announced to coincide with the ACC’s 68th Annual Scientific Session, March 16-18, in New Orleans, integrates lifelong learning and assessment with the goal of helping physicians stay current in knowledge and practice. 

“The new CMP leverages the respective expertise of the ACC and ABIM to create a literal ‘pathway’ that meets the ongoing learning needs of cardiologists, while also giving patients, the public and other stakeholders confidence that the care provided by their physicians is of the highest quality,” said Timothy W. Attebery, DSc, MBA, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of ACC. “We appreciate ABIM working with us on what we believe is a win-win solution for cardiologists and the patients they serve.” 

Program Overview
Based on feedback from cardiologists who expressed interest in a way to focus their study in specific areas over the course of several years, rather than a single test every 10 years, ABIM and ACC began work in 2017 to provide an alternate pathway for cardiologists seeking to maintain their ABIM certification. 

A Cardiovascular Disease CMP utilizing the ACC’s Adult Clinical Cardiology Self-Assessment Program (ACCSAP) for both formative engagement in learning and the demonstration of currency with an annual performance assessment will be available in 2019. For certified cardiologists, this pathway centers on successful engagement with the ACCSAP educational materials in specific content areas each year as a prerequisite to qualify for a performance assessment later in the calendar year on those same topic areas. A new performance assessment will be available each year, with each covering approximately 20 percent of the field of cardiovascular disease. Ultimately, the breadth of general cardiology will be covered in a span of five years. The 2019 ACCSAP performance assessment will focus on arrhythmias. This means physicians planning to enter the CMP in 2019 can begin to focus their studying on the arrhythmia section of ACCSAP now, with the performance assessment on arrhythmias available in the fall. 

It is anticipated that CMPs in Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Interventional Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure, and Transplant Cardiology will become available in 2020. ACC is working in collaboration with the Heart Rhythm Society, the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and the Heart Failure Society of America in conjunction with the ABIM on these efforts. 

With this new MOC pathway, ABIM will continue to set performance standards and issue certifications, and ABIM’s current MOC program requirements will remain in place. ABIM’s traditional 10-year MOC exam and the two-year Knowledge Check-In assessment will remain available to diplomates if they choose not to participate in the CMP. 

Similarly, ACCSAP will remain a standalone Continuing Medical Education option as an educational resource in the field of Cardiology, regardless of a physician’s participation in ABIM MOC. 

“Through meaningful engagement with the physician community and professional societies, ABIM is proud to continue the evolution of our MOC program in a myriad of ways to better meet the needs of physicians and the patients they serve,” said Richard J. Baron, MD, President and CEO of ABIM. “This new offering increases choice, flexibility and relevance for board certified cardiologists while also keeping a performance standard that gives patients confidence that their physician possesses the current medical knowledge necessary to deliver high-quality care. We appreciate ACC’s expertise and partnership throughout this journey to co-create an innovative new assessment option for cardiologists.”

To be eligible to participate in this new option, a physician must:

  • Be currently certified by ABIM and not in an MOC exam grace period
  • Participate in ACCSAP
  • Spend time “engaging” in the topic areas covered annually by the CMP Performance Assessment. This means a physician will need to spend at least seven hours:
    • Reading the text, watching/listening to presentations and/or completing practice questions in the Arrhythmias chapter
    • Completing all 94 Arrhythmias practice questions and answering at least 70% of them correctly to align with current CME requirements (with the opportunity to answer as many times as necessary to achieve that score)
  • Take the first Performance Assessment in fall 2019

2019 is considered a “no consequences” year for this new option, meaning a physician will be considered as meeting their ABIM assessment requirement as long as they have participated in both the engagement and performance components of the pathway. In 2020 and beyond, a physician must engage in the learning components and pass the performance assessment to be considered as meeting their ABIM assessment requirement. Physicians will have two chances each year to pass the performance assessment. 

Read the release at ACC.

ABIM Board Certified Doctors Make a Difference
Internists and subspecialists who earn and maintain board certification from the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) differentiate themselves every day through their specialized knowledge and commitment to continual learning in service of their patients. Established as an independent nonprofit more than 80 years ago, ABIM continues to be driven by doctors who want to achieve higher standards for better care in a rapidly changing world. Visit ABIM’s blog to learn more and follow ABIM on FacebookInstagram and Twitter. ABIM is a member of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

The American College of Cardiology envisions a world where innovation and knowledge optimize cardiovascular care and outcomes. As the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team, the mission of the College and its more than 52,000 members is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC bestows credentials upon cardiovascular professionals who meet stringent qualifications and leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College also provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research through its world-renowned JACC Journals, operates national registries to measure and improve care, and offers cardiovascular accreditation to hospitals and institutions. For more, visit