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What changed in 2014?

Why did ABIM change its program?

  • There is growing recognition and agreement from the public, consumer groups and medical organizations that assessing knowledge and performance every 10 years is not sufficient.1
    • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has argued that in a profession with a “continually expanding knowledge base,” a mechanism is needed to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with current best practices. The growing knowledge base requires that training and ongoing licensure and certification reflect the need for lifelong learning and evaluation of competencies.
    • Research has shown that the public expects that physicians undergo a rigorous, periodic examination of knowledge. Read more research.
  • Greater frequency of engagement in MOC recognizes the changing face of medicine and the fact that maintaining certification once every 10 years is not enough.
  • Board certification is a tangible part of earning the privilege enjoyed by the medical profession to self-regulate. Retaining this privilege and maintaining the trust of patients and the public requires demonstrating that a board certified internist has the requisite knowledge, and knows how to use it.
  • These changes to MOC will also increase the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other physician reporting requirements.

1 National Research Council. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001. 217. Print.

What are the changes to ABIM's MOC program?

  • For all ABIM Board Certified physicians, ABIM has begun reporting whether or not you are “Meeting MOC Requirements” (i.e., continuously engaging in MOC activities). Greater frequency of engagement in MOC recognizes the changing face of medicine and increases the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other physician reporting requirements. We will also be continuously improving our products, making them more relevant and meaningful.
    • ABIM will honor time remaining on all certifications. You will continue to be certified for the length of your current certification(s), assuming you hold a current and valid license.
    • If you hold certification(s) that are valid indefinitely, you will not lose those certification(s).
    • All diplomates whose certifications are current and whose licenses are in good standing will be “Meeting MOC Requirements.”
      • To be “Meeting MOC Requirements,” you must complete at least one MOC activity to earn ABIM MOC points every two years. Every five years, you must earn a total of 100 ABIM MOC points with at least 20 points in medical knowledge and 20 points in practice assessment. In addition, you must fulfill a patient safety and a patient voice requirement.
      • The points earned every two years will count toward your five-year requirement, and also count toward the milestones for the certifications you are maintaining.
      • You can earn MOC points by completing ABIM's own MOC products, or many other activities developed by other organizations that ABIM has approved for MOC.
    • You need to pass the exam 10 years from when you last passed in each certification area you choose to maintain. You will also earn 20 MOC points for your first exam attempt for each certification area you hold.
    • If you attempt the examination and fail prior to the date your current examination is due and, if you are in good standing with all your other MOC requirements at that time, you will have an additional year to pass the examination before your certification status changes.
      • During the extra year, if you remain in good standing with all other requirements, you will continue to be reported as “Certified, Meeting MOC Requirements.” Once passed, the next MOC exam will be due 10 years from the last pass, even if that pass was during the additional year.

How long will the MOC program take me?

  • The changes to the MOC program are designed to spread out the requirements over time so that physicians will not feel pressured to complete multiple activities at one time.
  • Physicians tell us they invest anywhere from five to 20 hours per year in professional development activities in order to be reported as "Meeting MOC Requirements."
  • In the year you need to prepare for and take the exam, the time commitment is greater. ABIM will recognize that preparation by awarding 20 MOC points for the first time you take an MOC exam within every 10-year period for each certification you hold.
  • We are working to recognize more of what you are doing in practice and provide MOC credit for other products. Our products can help you earn CME, and many of the CME products offered by medical societies can be applied to MOC credit.

What do you mean, "ABIM is offering me credit for things I already do"?

We know that most physicians are already involved in professional self-assessment and improvement. We are continuously expanding our MOC program to include more options to earn MOC points for activities you are already doing.

Certified by another ABMS Board:

Self-Evaluation of Practice Assessment:

  • Have you done a quality improvement (QI) project in the last two years? Are you beginning a QI project now? If these projects use your clinical data, registry data or other evidence-based measures, you can earn MOC practice assessment points for these activities through either the Completed Project PIM, or the Self-Directed PIM (each earn you Self-Evaluation of Practice Assessment points). Visit the Practice Assessment Selector Tool for more information about these and other ABIM practice assessment modules.
  • Is your institution or medical society engaged in quality improvement activities? More than 50 non-ABIM products or institutional programs can earn diplomates Self-Evaluation of Practice Assessment points through ABIM's Approved Quality Improvement (AQI) program. Visit the Practice Assessment Selector Tool and the Multi-Specialty Portfolio Approval Program to learn more.
  • Bridges to Excellence – Bridges to Excellence® has recognized the ABIM PIMs Practice Improvement Modules® as effective tools for quality improvement and seeks to reward physicians who achieve certain levels of performance on the ABIM Diabetes PIM and the ABIM Hypertension PIM. Visit Bridges to Excellence to learn more.

How will these changes benefit me?

  • Your first exam attempt in each certification area you maintain will earn 20 MOC points.
  • You will now have the option of paying for the program on an annual basis or for the full 10 years in advance at a discount.
  • Your MOC fee includes unlimited access to all of ABIM's self-evaluation products, many of which earn CME credit.
  • If you are in fellowship, you can earn MOC points and a fee credit for each eligible year of fellowship training.
  • If you are newly certified in Internal Medicine in 2013 and after, you will receive a waiver of the annual MOC fee for the first year after you pass the Internal Medicine Certification Exam.
    • Log in to view your Home Page and MOC Status Report on ABIM.org, which have been updated with personalized information based on the certification areas you chose to maintain. Your status report will show you what you need to do next to be "Meeting MOC Requirements" and to maintain your certifications. In the future, we will be rolling out improvements to these pages to further enhance the MOC process for all ABIM Board Certified physicians.
  • If you attempt the examination and fail prior to the date your current examination is due and, if you are in good standing with all your other MOC requirements at that time, you will have an additional year to pass the examination before your certification status changes.
  • Beginning with the Spring 2015 MOC exam administration, a diplomate who is retaking an MOC exam for the first time after failing this same exam once before will be charged a reduced retake fee of $400. Subsequent retakes of this same MOC exam will remain at $775.
    • There will be no retroactive refunds for first time retakes prior to 2015.
  • The Spring MOC 2015 Exam Score Reports will feature more in-depth, actionable feedback on individual exam performance, such as identifying knowledge gaps and directing areas of potential further study.
  • Practice assessment, an every five-year MOC requirement, is being redesigned to focus on the types of measurement and improvement activities physicians use to examine data from their patients, thus reducing the data collection burden on physicians.
  • In the coming months, ABIM will begin to accept a broader range of CME activities that include self-assessment for the every five-year Medical Knowledge requirement.

These weren't the rules when I certified. Why do I have to do this now?

  • There is growing recognition and agreement from the public, consumer groups and medical organizations that assessing knowledge and performance every 10 years is not sufficient.1 Greater frequency of engagement in MOC recognizes the changing face of medicine and the fact that maintaining certification once every 10 years is not enough. These changes to the MOC requirements will also increase the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other regular reporting requirements you need to meet.
  • ABIM reserves the right to make changes in its fees, examinations, policies and procedures at any time without advance notice. Admission to ABIM's certification process is determined by the policies in force at the time of application.
  • The new MOC program requirements apply to all ABIM Board Certified physicians, regardless of when they were initially certified.
  • ABIM will honor time remaining on all certifications. You will continue to be certified for the length of your current certification(s), assuming you hold a current and valid license. However, if you miss any of the MOC program requirements, you will be reported as “Certified, Not Meeting MOC Requirements.”
  • If you hold certification(s) that are valid indefinitely, you will not lose those certification(s). However, if you miss any of the MOC program requirements, you will be reported as “Certified, Not Meeting MOC Requirements.”

1 National Research Council. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001. 217. Print.

How much does it cost?

Fees for MOC depend upon which certifications you choose to maintain. You have the option of paying annually or pre-paying for 10 years. Fees below include the first exam attempt in each certification you are maintaining and access to all of ABIM's self-evaluation modules. Some fee examples are below:

  Annual Fee 10-year Fee
Internal Medicine* $194 $1,940
Hospital Medicine $206 $2,060
1 Subspecialty Certificate $256 $2,560
IM + 1 Subspecialty Certificate $353 $3,530
2 Subspecialty Certificates $384 $3,840


*Anyone newly certified in Internal Medicine will receive a waiver of their annual MOC fee for the year after they pass the Internal Medicine Certification Exam. This includes the diplomates who passed the Internal Medicine Certification Exam in 2013, who will receive a waiver of their annual MOC fee for 2014. However, you will need to claim your waiver by logging in to ABIM.org and enrolling in MOC.

Already enrolled in MOC:

  • Additional fees may be incurred if you choose to take an additional exam or for exam retakes.
  • Your next payment will be due when your current enrollment expires. At that point, you can choose to pay annually or pre-pay for 10 years at a time. To find out whether you are enrolled, log in and view your MOC Status Report.

Not currently enrolled in MOC:

  • If you are maintaining more than one certification, the cost will be the fee of the most expensive certification plus half for each of the others. You can choose which certifications you will maintain when you activate your MOC program after logging in to ABIM.org.
  • If you are in an accredited fellowship program which will lead to certification in a subspecialty, you may have to pay the MOC fee unless you were previously enrolled in MOC or you initially certified in Internal Medicine (in which case, you receive a fee waiver for being newly certified). Upon completion of each eligible fellowship year and receipt of your evaluation from your program director, you will receive 20 MOC points and a one-year fee credit available through your log in to ABIM.org.

Can MOC activities before 2014 be applied to "Meeting MOC Requirements"?

  • Only points earned for MOC activities completed in 2014 and after will count toward the new “Meeting MOC Requirements” reporting.
    • In order to be “Meeting MOC Requirements,” you need to earn points by the two- and five-year milestones. This is a requirement for everyone – regardless of the points they earned prior to 2014, or when they initially certified.
    • If you have certifications that expire prior to 2018, points earned prior to 2014 will only count toward the 100 points you need to maintain your certifications and will not count toward the “Meeting MOC Requirements” reporting.
    • If you have certifications expiring in 2018 and beyond, you will need to follow the new requirements, including completing an MOC activity every two years and earning 100 ABIM MOC points with 20 points in medical knowledge and 20 points in practice assessment every five years. Any points earned prior to 2014 will not count toward maintaining certifications expiring in 2018 or beyond.

Do these new rules wash away all the points I've earned?

  • Points earned prior to 2014 will count toward certifications expiring from 2014 through 2017 but will not count toward the “Meeting MOC Requirements” reporting. Only those points earned in 2014 and after will count toward “Meeting MOC Requirements.”
    • If you have a certification expiring in 2018 or beyond, any points earned before 2014 will not count toward maintaining your certification. To maintain certifications expiring 2018 and beyond, you will need to follow the new MOC requirements, including completing an MOC activity every two years and earning 100 ABIM MOC points with 20 points in medical knowledge and 20 points in practice assessment every five years.
    • The points earned every two years will count toward your five-year requirement, and also count toward the milestones for the certifications you are maintaining.

I hold a certification that is valid indefinitely. Why are you reporting that I am not meeting MOC requirements when I don't have any requirements to meet?

  • There is growing recognition and agreement from the public, consumer groups and medical organizations that assessing knowledge and performance every 10 years is not sufficient.1
    • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has argued that in a profession with a "continually expanding knowledge base" a mechanism is needed to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with current best practices. The growing knowledge base requires that training and ongoing licensure and certification reflect the need for lifelong learning and evaluation of competencies.
    • Research has shown that the public expects that physicians undergo a rigorous, periodic examination of knowledge. Read more research.
  • Greater frequency of engagement in MOC recognizes the changing face of medicine and the fact that maintaining certification once every 10 years is not enough.
  • These changes to the MOC requirements will also increase the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other regular reporting requirements you need to meet. The new MOC program requirements apply to all ABIM Board Certified physicians, regardless of when they were initially certified.

1 National Research Council. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001. 217. Print.

  • ABIM will honor all certifications already issued, and diplomates who received certifications that are valid indefinitely will remain certified (assuming you hold a current and valid license).
  • However, for all ABIM Board Certified physicians, regardless of when they were initially certified, ABIM will begin reporting whether or not they are “Meeting MOC Requirements.”
  • In addition to the “Meeting MOC Requirements” requirement, diplomates with a certification that is valid indefinitely will need to pass the MOC exam in their certification area by 12/31/23 in order to be reported as “Meeting MOC Requirements.” This is in addition to continuing to meet the point requirements of the MOC program.
  • Log in to view your specific MOC program requirements.
  • Those holding certificates that are valid indefinitely who did not activate their MOC program by 3/31 will be reported as Certified, Not Meeting MOC requirements.” They will NOT be reported as “Not Certified” for failing to meet MOC requirements.

How do I reinstate my certification status if I fall behind?

  • You must complete any outstanding requirements in order for your certification and “Meeting MOC Requirements” status to be reinstated.
  • If your certification has lapsed, you will need to complete your existing program requirements to reinstate your lapsed certification. After you complete your requirements, you will receive a new certificate, the ongoing validity of which is contingent upon “Meeting MOC Requirements.”
  • Log in to view your MOC Status Report to find out what you need to do.

What is the evidence that supports the need to meet MOC requirements on a more continuous basis? How do you know the public wants this?

  • There is growing recognition and agreement from the public, consumer groups and medical organizations that assessing knowledge and performance once every 10 years is not sufficient.1 Greater frequency of engagement in MOC recognizes the changing face of medicine and the fact that every once 10 years is not enough. These changes to the MOC requirements will also increase the relevancy of the credential by aligning with other regular reporting requirements you need to meet. The new MOC program requirements apply to all ABIM Board Certified physicians, regardless of when they were initially certified. 1 National Research Council. Crossing the quality chasm: a new health system for the 21st century. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2001. 217. Print.
    • The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has argued that in a profession with a “continually expanding knowledge base,” a mechanism is needed to ensure that practitioners remain up-to-date with current best practices. The growing knowledge base requires that training and ongoing licensure and certification reflect the need for lifelong learning and evaluation of competencies.
    • Read research on the effectiveness of MOC and on the public's expectations of physicians.

What is the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)?

  • ABIM is one of 24 medical specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). Through ABMS, the boards work together to establish common standards for physicians to achieve and maintain board certification. As a member of the ABMS, ABIM abides by its standards in developing requirements for new areas of certification and the Maintenance of Certification program. ABMS is an independent, non-profit organization. For more information about ABMS, visit www.abms.org.

Is ABIM the only ABMS Board with a continuous program?

While ABIM believes that a more continuous MOC program helps you keep pace with the changes in the science of medicine and assessment, we are not making these changes alone. In fact, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), of which ABIM is a member, is requiring that all of its 24 member Boards implement a more continuous MOC program.

Will hospitals and health plans require new MOC requirements?

Some hospitals and health plans require board certification and others require Maintenance of Certification. ABIM has no control over their requirements.

How will credentialists know that I am certified if my certificate is contingent upon meeting the requirements of MOC?

ABIM is actively reaching out to the credentialing community to educate them about the new MOC requirements, and we are specifically addressing how to understand and report certifications contingent upon “Meeting MOC Requirements.”

Why can't I log in?

  • The system is not recognizing my ID.
    • If your ABIM ID is shorter than six digits long, you will need to add zeros before the ID number to ensure a six-digit ID when logging in.
    • You can also use the “Find Your ABIM ID” feature to the right of the ID entry space. If you continue to have trouble, please e-mail us at request@abim.org.
  • I've never done this before and I don't have a password.
    • For first time users, your password is your date of birth, entered as a 6-digit number consisting of month, day and year (i.e., 010263 for January 2, 1963).