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Perspective on Changes to the Recertification Process for American Physicians

Medical Board RecertificationThe concept of recertification is nothing new among the healthcare field. For decades, medical doctors have understood that they have an obligation to periodically become recertified in their specialty, ensuring that they are up-to-date in their field and able to provide the best standard of care to their patients. Recertification was also an effective tool for demonstrating to staffing bodies, employers, and hospital groups the physician’s expertise in his or her specialty. However, the problem with the old way of recertification, according to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) was the concept of this “periodic” recertification. It was their argument that physicians should be participating in continuous professional development, which led to the creation of the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program that has sparked such controversy within the medical community.

The MOC is designed to standardize the recertification process across a variety of medical specialties. While the standards vary depending on the field of medicine, this largely entails a significant commitment from physicians to devote time to studying and preparing for standardized testing in order to maintain their certification. This program further institutes other hurdles toward recertification, such as mandating a stringent time limit for establishing board certification, and a financial commitment from the physicians seeking board certification. This has led to some frustration among physicians because the clear advantage to the MOC hasn’t been effectively established, and many physicians are growing concerned about the intrusive requirements established in this program. And while the ABMS considers the MOC program voluntary, maintaining active board certification is required by many staffing agencies and has significant insurance implications.

It is important to note, however, that physicians seeking board certification or recertification have options. At the American Board of Physician Specialties we require our Diplomates to obtain recertification every eight years and have stringent eligibility requirements in place, but do not require any MOC participation. Instead, we place priority on our physicians delivering consistently exceptional, patient-centric care. To learn more about our rigorous physician board recertification standards, contact us today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.