ABIM Quarterly News & Notes | Spring 2021

ABIM Quarterly News & Notes | Spring 2021



Colleagues,

As I hope you have already heard, last month ABIM announced that it extended MOC requirement deadlines to allow you more time to focus on your patients, your family, and critically, create time and space for you to look after yourself during these extraordinarily difficult times. As a physician-run organization, we too have experienced the unique challenges created by COVID-19, and understand the emotional and physical demands placed on you; your well-being was paramount as we came to this decision.

We’ve received feedback from a lot of you, sharing your appreciation, and often a sense of relief this extension provides.

  • “Thank you so much for this email. It gives some room to breathe.”
  • “You just relieved a huge stress in my already stressful life. Thank you.”
  • “To me, and I am sure many others, this makes a world of difference. I appreciate the consideration, the clear communication, and options outlined. I wonder how often you may hear these words – well done.”

We are grateful for all the work you are doing for your patients during this pandemic. Often as physicians we put our own well-being after everyone else’s. As things slowly return to “normal” please remember to take some time to process the past year and take care of yourself.

Our Customer Care team remains available to answer any questions you might have about the extension and what it means for you. You can view FAQs for additional information. While you’ll have new ways to maintain your certification in the future—including the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment launching in 2022 that you can read more about here—I wanted to reassure you that nobody will lose certification if they cannot fulfill MOC requirements this year.

We’re seeing light at the end of this tunnel, and I’m optimistic about the future. On behalf of your patients, community, and the entire nation, thank you for all you’ve done, and will continue to do, to see us through this once-in-a-lifetime event and beyond.

Sincerely,


 

Richard J. Baron, MD, MACP
President and CEO


In 2019, ABIM announced it would develop a longitudinal assessment for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), and has been working closely with the community to ensure it meets the needs of today’s practicing physician when it launches in 2022. 

Today we are announcing the official name of this new assessment option – the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKATM) – and we invite you to visit a new website designed to highlight the many features we hope you’ll like, as well as the ways the LKA can help you demonstrate that you’re keeping your medical knowledge current.

For example, when you participate in the LKA, you’ll:

  • have the flexibility to answer questions from almost any internet-connected device at any time – no need to go to a test center;
  • be able to access all the resources you use in practice (except another person);
  • receive 30 questions at the beginning of each quarter, and can answer them at your own pace – a few at a time, or all at once – as long as you complete them by the end of that quarter; and,
  • have four minutes to answer each question, with the ability to draw from a 30-minute time bank each year if more time is needed.

While you’ll have a full quarter to answer each batch of questions, there is flexibility to skip questions if needed. You can skip a question by simply not opening it, and any unopened questions will expire at the end of that quarter. As long as you’ve answered at least 500 of the 600 questions offered over your five-year cycle, you’ll have met the LKA Participation Requirement.

With LKA, you’ll receive immediate feedback on correct and incorrect answers with rationales and references to help identify areas for future study, as well as feedback on your performance relative to the passing standard along the way. At the end of five years, your overall performance will be measured against the standard set for physicians.

It is a wholly redefined, interactive experience that supports your ongoing educational efforts, while helping you demonstrate that you’re keeping up with advances in medicine.

ABIM is working to make the LKA available to as many diplomates as possible as quickly as possible, with 12 specialties rolling out in 2022.

It’s important to know the Knowledge Check-In (KCI) will no longer be available after 2021 as we transition to the LKA. As the KCI is offered on an every-other-year basis, for specialties that launched in an even numbered year, including internal medicine, 2020 was the last year it was available. Learn more about KCI availability on our website. Find your assessment options by using our assessment selector tool.  

Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment Rollout Schedule

Registration for the LKA will open on December 1, 2021. If you are due for an assessment in 2022, and the LKA is available in your specialty, you’ll be eligible to enroll. The first batch of LKA questions will be delivered in January 2022, so if you participate it’s beneficial to start engaging with questions in the first quarter of the year, as any not opened will count against your 100 skips over your 5-year cycle.

We look forward to hearing your feedback on the LKA and appreciate those who have already provided input to help us deliver the best experience possible.


I am Certified. What does this mean to me?

ABIM is extending MOC requirement deadlines for all specialties to 12/31/2022, and to 12/31/2023 for the following specialties: Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Pulmonary Disease.

  • All Specialties: If you had or have a MOC requirement – including an assessment, points, or an attestation – due in 2020 or 2021, you now have until the end of 2022 to complete it, and you will not lose certification if you are unable to complete any MOC requirements this year. Anyone currently in the grace period will be afforded an additional grace year to 12/31/2022. In January, 2022 ABIM will launch a new Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment, a more flexible and convenient way to maintain your certification. Diplomates can enroll in the LKA, or choose to take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam. 2021 will be the last year the Knowledge Check-In is offered, and you can learn more about your assessment options using our new tool.
  • Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Pulmonary Disease: If you had or have a MOC requirement – including an assessment, points, or an attestation – due in 2020, 2021, or 2022 you now have until the end of 2023 to complete it, and you will not lose certification if you are unable to complete any MOC requirements this year or next year. Anyone currently in the grace period will be afforded an additional two grace years to 12/31/2023. In 2023, diplomates can enroll in the LKA, or choose to take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam.

Why are you extending the MOC requirement deadlines for Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Pulmonary Disease to 2023?

The Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment for these specialties launches in 2023. ABIM is extending the MOC requirement deadlines for these specialties to 2023, when the LKA will be available to them. Learn more.

I am Not Certified. What does this mean to me?

ABIM is extending MOC requirement deadlines so physicians have more time to meet their requirements without risk of losing certification, but lapsed certificates are not being reinstated. Since you have already experienced a lapse in certification, you will continue to be reported as Not Certified until you meet your outstanding MOC requirements.

  • All Specialties: In January, 2022 ABIM will launch a new Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment, a more flexible and convenient way to maintain your certification. Diplomates can enroll in the LKA, or choose to take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam. 2021 will be the last year the Knowledge Check-In is offered, and you can learn more about your assessment options using our new tool.
  • Critical Care Medicine, Hospital Medicine, Infectious Disease, and Pulmonary Disease: In 2023, diplomates can enroll in the LKA, or choose to take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam.

Please note that LKA eligibility is contingent on your certification status. Read more here.

Why do the deadlines in the Physician Portal not reflect the extension of MOC requirement deadlines?

ABIM is in the process of updating the Physician Portal to reflect the extension of MOC requirement deadlines. Current deadlines in the Physician Portal do not reflect the extension of MOC requirement deadlines, but please rest assured that you will not lose certification if you are not able to complete any MOC requirements this year.

ABIM will continue to offer all assessments as scheduled this year if you would like to take one. A successful performance will advance your assessment due date depending on which exam option you choose. You will then be able to enroll in the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment next time you are due for an assessment.



 

In our newfound virtual world, it’s easy to forget there are real people working behind the scenes to support the more than 200,000 ABIM Board Certified physicians across the globe. ABIM’s staff is comprised of more than 180 talented individuals who handle everything from psychometrics and scoring to printing your certificates so you can display them proudly for your patients.

As 2020 made very clear, life can take unexpected twists and turns. At ABIM, the Exam Experience team works to ensure this doesn’t happen when you’re sitting for your exam. They’re the ones arranging for text-to-speech software if you have a visual impairment, making sure that nursing mothers have clean, private lactation rooms, and that arrangements are made to split an exam over several days if you have difficulty sitting for a single session. If a test center temporarily closes because of COVID-19 concerns, they work with physicians to reschedule as soon as possible. They’re also responsible managing any on-site issues that arise and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance at the Pearson VUE test centers. The team fields more than 700 requests for accommodations each year, all of which are answered personally by Aleisha Collier and Klea Merdani.

Aleisha Collier has been with ABIM for nine years, first as a Customer Experience representative and now as Exam Accommodations Manager. The mother of five-year-old identical twin girls and an 11-year-old son, she says she loves helping people, but is an introvert by nature. Aleisha enjoys working with the variety of physicians who call in, many of whom stay in touch throughout the years. 

“This position is different than most jobs here at ABIM,” she said. “There’s a lot of communication back and forth with physicians and you have to really listen to their concerns and remember that they are people first. It’s very fulfilling to research a condition to find what accommodations will work best for them and to make sure everything is in place so they can be successful when taking the exam. Often, once the exam is over, they’ll write letting me know the exam went well because of the accommodations we were able to make.”

When not working, Aleisha spends her time helping her new kindergarteners learn how to read and manage online classes, and doing arts and crafts with her children. “We’re a crafting family,” she said. “The kids just love doing arts and crafts projects.”

Klea Merdani, who works closely with Aleisha, has been a Program Associate for about a year at ABIM. She specializes in pregnancy and nursing mother accommodations. Klea is trilingual, and while she was born in Albania her parents moved the family to Paros, Greece when she was 2 years old and she considers it “home.” They moved to the US when Klea was 11.

“When I came to the US I had some difficulties and so I understand that sometimes people need help to be able to do their best,” she said. “There are three sub-departments within my department and there are occasions where I find difficulty in carving out enough time for each equally, but I also enjoy having a range because it allows me to continually learn new skills.”

One of the biggest challenges for the team this past year has been the quarantine and balancing the needs and safety of physicians during COVID-19.

“Collaborating with departments and vendors has taught me to foster relationships, which I value greatly and believe they are best achieved with in-person contact,” Klea said. “This past year has been challenging in maintaining that level of personalized connection while working remotely due to COVID-19 and sacrificing physical interaction with fellow coworkers.”

There have been small victories that keep her going throughout. “We have had test centers close, physicians requesting more private rooms, it has been challenging but we are doing our best to make sure everyone has what they need to be successful,” she said. “When we hear back that an exam went well, it makes it all worth it.”

Klea manages quarantine stress with a new hobby, Paint by Numbers, which she says is more difficult than you’d think. She’s currently working on a “Tree of Life” painting she hopes to hang in her office, when she’s able to go back in to the office.

“I really miss seeing people,” she said. “I look forward to us all being together again.”

In the meantime, if you need an accommodation for a disability, or are a pregnant or nursing mother, please feel free to reach out to Aleisha or Klea at accommodations@abim.org and they’d be more than happy to help. 


 

 

ABIM’s research team has published several articles in the past few months.

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