Eleven member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), including the American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS), have joined seven other member boards in reporting publicly whether the doctors they certify are meeting ABMS Maintenance of Certification® (ABMS MOC®) requirements.
“ABMS is meeting its commitment to patients, families and communities by providing easy access to important information about individual doctors,” said Lois Margaret Nora, MD, JD, MBA, who is ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer. “ABMS is pleased to serve as the central repository of public information now reflecting MOC data from 18 Member Boards, and looks forward to full Member Board participation by early 2014.”
The results of researching a doctor’s status show the doctor’s name, the name of the ABMS Member Board that certifies the doctor and a “Yes,” “No,” or “Not Required” response to the question of whether the doctor is meeting the MOC requirements of that Member Board. (The doctor’s certifying Board, for ASCRS Members the ABCRS, determines whether or not he or she is meeting its MOC requirements.
After January 1, 2010, all American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery (ABCRS) diplomates were enrolled in the MOC process. Maintenance of Certification is a process designed to document that physician specialists certified by member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), of which ABCRS is one, are maintaining the skills and knowledge necessary to provide quality patient care in their specialties. “The program gives diplomates the opportunity to demonstrate to peers, patients, and the general public a commitment to lifelong learning and improvement in their chosen field of practice,” ABCRS says.
MOC is the new “gold standard” of specialty board certification. It acknowledges that diplomates have already demonstrated a commitment to excellence by becoming certified and builds upon this experience. “MOC represents an opportunity for ABCRS diplomates to take a leadership position in the national movement to improve health care quality and patient safety, through performance assessments founded on objective clinical standards and measurable outcomes,” ABCRS says.
“MOC was developed in response to growing public concerns about the quality of health care. If physician organizations like ASCRS and ABCRS do not recognize the level of public dissatisfaction with perceived health care quality and take clear and effective steps to improve it, it is quite likely that external regulation by the federal government or other organizations, which would be far more onerous and less focused on important clinical issues, will be forthcoming. The ABMS is working to see that the federal government, third party payers, and state licensing boards recognize MOC and use it to replace current and future requirements,” ABCRS says.
The doctor’s ABMS profile will now contain the following new features:
- The status of all specialty and subspecialty certificates (for example, a doctor can be Board certified in Colon and Rectal Surgery and another subspecialty.
- For a doctor who became Board Certified after his or her Member Board established its MOC program, and is not required to participate in MOC, a “Not Required” option is provided to indicate whether that doctor is meeting the MOC requirements of his or her Member Board.
Nearly 800,000 doctors are Board Certified by an ABMS Member Board. The ABMS MOC program promotes career-long learning, quality improvement activities and self-assessment. For more than 75 years, the ABMS has been the medical organization overseeing physician certification in the U.S.
Current rules state that diplomates with unlimited certification are not required to participate in the MOC process.
MOC requirements progress in five-year cycles. At the end of each five-year cycle, diplomates must report on their professional standing and lifelong learning. To demonstrate cognitive expertise, the MOC examination must be taken every 10 years.
Reciprocity will be granted to colon and rectal surgeons who are participating in and fulfilling the American Board of Surgery Maintenance of Certification process. With submission of proper documentation, only two additional requirements will be necessary:
- Completion of CARSEP at a minimum of every five years; and
- Successful completion of a secure examination administered by the ABCRS every ten years.
The ABMS, in conjunction with the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, has defined six general competencies for physicians:
- Medical knowledge about established and evolving biomedical, clinical, and cognate sciences, and the application of this knowledge to patient care;
- Patient care that is compassionate, appropriate, and effective for the treatment of health problems and promotion of health;
- Interpersonal and communication skills that result in effective information exchange and teaming with patients, their families, and other health professionals;
- Professionalism as demonstrated by a commitment to professional responsibilities, adherence to ethical principles, and sensitivity to a diverse patient population;
- Practice-based learning and improvement that involves investigation and evaluation of one’s own patient care, appraisal and assimilation of scientific evidence, patient care; and
- Systems-based practice, as demonstrated by an awareness of and responsiveness to the entire systems of health care, and the ability to effectively call on system resources to provide optimal care.
To measure these competencies, the MOC program uses four key components:
- Professional standing (every five years, verify full licensure in state of practice, document privileges for colon and rectal surgery at a hospital, submit letter of recommendation from the hospital chief-of-staff);
- Lifelong learning and self-assessment (every five years, completion of CARSEP and 150 Category I CME credit hours);
- Cognitive expertise (every 10 years, pass MOC examination); and
- Evaluation of performance in practice (tools for evaluation of communications and interpersonal skills are still being developed, so this element is not currently required).
Additional information and application forms are available on the ABCRS Website, www.abcrs.org.