MOC Changes Enable Easier Integration of Certification
Thursday, Dec. 03, 2015
Changes in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program from the American Board of Radiology (ABR) will enable radiologists to better integrate certification into their busy schedules, according to presenters at a session Wednesday.
Almost a decade has passed since the full implementation of all four parts of ABR's MOC Program. While the program has generally been well received by ABR diplomates, portions of it needed improvement to make MOC requirements more relevant to practice and reduce the dedicated cost and time required of participants, said presenter and ABR President Milton J. Guiberteau, M.D., from St. Joseph Medical Center in Houston.
"There is near universal support for underlying goals of MOC," he said. "However, fleshing out the specific requirements to meet those goals has been a work in progress."
Using input from MOC Advisory Committees and survey responses from diplomates, ABR announced two MOC improvements in September. The first, effective immediately, is focused on Part 4 of the program, Practice Quality Improvement (PQI). ABR announced expanded options for satisfying Part 4 requirements, including credit for activities that diplomates are performing as part of their practices or voluntary professional efforts.
"This effort is not to de-emphasize PQI but to create greater flexibility and give people credit for things they're already doing," said ABR Board of Governors member Vincent P. Mathews, M.D., from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee.
The second improvement, simplified attestation, will become available on the myABR website portal on Monday, January 4, 2016. With simplified attestation, diplomates will only need to attest to the fact that each of the requirements for Parts 1 through 4 of MOC have been met. Entering detailed data will not be required each year; however, diplomates will need to retain this information in the event of an audit.
For each diplomate who is currently enrolled in MOC, continuous certification will automatically replace the old 10-year MOC cycle. The policy change encourages diplomates to engage in continuous professional development and meet their MOC requirements in a timelier manner. Starting in 2016, there will be a look-back period every March for review of credits earned in the previous three years.
New Certifying Examination Yields Strong Results
ABR Trustee Dennis Balfe, M.D., from the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, discussed early returns on the new Certifying Examination. The test debuted in October and has been administered five times, with an impressive 89 percent pass rate. Chief complaints among test takers include travel to the test centers in Chicago and Tucson, the timing of the test and the non-interpretive skills module.
"The non-interpretive skills came in for a lot of heat for being largely irrelevant to practice," said Dr. Balfe. "The ABR task force is going to take a look at that and make it more practical."
In 2013, ABR moved the Core Examination for residents from the second to the third year, partly to enable residents to subspecialize during the fourth year rather than being constrained by studying for the oral examination. Although the change meant that most residents would graduate as U.S. board eligible rather than board certified, it has not harmed job prospects, according to ABR Executive Director Valerie P. Jackson, M.D., RSNA Board of Directors Liaison for Education.
"Despite all the gloom and doom, the job market opened up earlier this year and radiologists are having no trouble getting jobs, even though some of them are not yet board certified," she said.
ABR Board of Governors member and incoming RSNA Board member Matthew A. Mauro, M.D., of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, N.C., reviewed the timetable for the new Interventional Radiology/Diagnostic Radiology (IR/DR) Certificate. The first integrated IR program launches in 2016, and independent programs are slated to begin in 2020, the same year that the IR fellowship is scheduled to end.
The changes were made to better prepare IR for the present and future, according to Dr. Mauro.
"We've already received over 80 applications for the first year," he said. "We're very encouraged by how enthusiastically programs have joined in this."