Make Your Voice Count

ABMS Invites Comments on Proposed Revisions to MOC Standards

October 16, 2013 04:03 pm Cindy Borgmeyer

You've worked hard to achieve and maintain your board certification. Now, you have a chance to influence what that process looks like going forward.

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The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is reaching out to its 84,500-plus diplomates to let them know they have an opportunity to comment on recently revised standards proposed by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for maintenance of certification (MOC). Specifically, the ABMS has launched a dedicated Web page, ABMS Public Comments on Programs for MOC(¸ to solicit feedback about the proposed standards, which are scheduled to take effect in 2015.

"A Shared Commitment"

"The programs for MOC offer board-certified specialists a way to enhance professional development and remain current in an increasingly complex practice environment," says the ABMS Web page. "All health care stakeholders have a shared commitment for continuing professional development for board-certified specialists while helping support the social pact between the public and the profession."

It was that commitment, in fact, that propelled the ABMS and its member boards to adopt the program for MOC in 2000. Nine years later, the ABMS and its member boards adopted the first standards to formalize MOC program elements and timelines for member boards to reach ongoing MOC milestones.

Developed during a two-year period, the newly proposed standards will apply to all 24 member boards of the ABMS as each develops its MOC programs, while allowing flexibility for specialty-specific needs.

The revised standards continue to address the four-part MOC framework shared by all ABMS member boards -- licensure and professional standing, lifelong learning and self-assessment, cognitive expertise, and practice performance assessment -- but they also incorporate a new section that outlines standards specific to each member board's program for MOC as a whole.

In addition, the standards document( includes a preface that provides history and context.

Ahead of the Game

Because the ABFM is an ABMS member board, if the proposed standards for MOC are adopted, the ABFM's Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) would be required to comply with them.

Here's the good news: It already does.

"The American Board of Family Medicine does not foresee any significant changes to MC-FP, as we are already in compliance with the proposed standards," said James Puffer, M.D., president and CEO of the ABFM. "Other specialties, however, may see significant changes.

"As a diplomate of the American Board of Family Medicine, your feedback is valuable to ABMS. We encourage you to be part of the review process by providing your comments."

The comment period ends Nov. 20.

After reviewing feedback provided during the comment period, the ABMS Board of Directors will consider approval of the final proposed standards at its January 2014 meeting.