ABIM’s forthcoming longitudinal pathway for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) was reimagined with physicians’ personal and professional needs in mind: greater flexibility, more convenience, increased relevancy and faster feedback. We are continuing to utilize feedback from the community to develop this new option and encourage you to share your thoughts.
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How Does the Longitudinal Pathway Work?
The longitudinal pathway for MOC is a five-year cycle and includes both a participation requirement and performance standard. You cannot lose certification if you don’t meet either of these requirements; however, you must pass the traditional 10-year MOC exam the following year to remain certified.
Features of Longitudinal
Use the longitudinal pathway to meet your MOC assessment requirement and earn MOC points.
* Participation requirement includes built-in flexibility to allow for life’s circumstances, such as short-term medical issues, vacations, weddings, funerals, or other personal events.
ABIM Assessment Options by Year
ABIM offers multiple ways to maintain your certification. Use the interactive tool below to select your specialty from the dropdown then select your due year to learn more about your assessment options. To find your specific due dates, please sign into your personalized Physician Portal.
Longitudinal Participation Requirement
ABIM understands that “life happens,” sometimes unexpectedly. That’s why the longitudinal pathway participation requirement includes built-in flexibility to allow for life’s circumstances, such as short-term medical issues, vacations, weddings, funerals, or other personal events.
Over the course of five years, you will be offered 600 questions (120 per year, delivered periodically) and can skip up to 100 while still meeting the participation requirement.
You’ll have four minutes to answer a question and, each year, have access to a 30-minute time bank you can draw from if you need extra time on a particular question. This amount of time was derived by analyzing data from previous ABIM exams that allowed physicians to access an external resource. It also aligns with the construct of a longitudinal assessment in that it measures what physicians should know to provide high-quality patient care and emulate the finite time they have to look up information in practice.
If you choose to skip a question, you must decide before you open it, so the question won't count against you in scoring. Any questions not attempted will count as skipped.
Longitudinal Performance Standard
The performance standard indicates whether you met the passing score at the end of the five-year cycle. While you’ll receive feedback on how you’re doing along the way, including how you are performing relative to the passing score, a determination is made at the end of the fifth year if you’ve met the performance standard.
Successfully meeting the performance standard means you can continue in the longitudinal pathway. Failure to meet it does not result in loss of certification; however, you must pass the traditional MOC Exam the following year to remain certified.
Longitudinal Rollout Schedule
ABIM’S LONGITUDINAL OPTION ROLLOUT SCHEDULE
Four specialties—Critical Care Medicine, Infectious Disease, Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine and Pulmonary Disease—will launch in 2023. Recruitment for volunteers to help write ABIM test questions typically starts in the spring, which would have occurred during the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic. ABIM leadership consulted with physicians currently serving on its Exam Committees and Item Writing Task Forces in these disciplines, and recognizing the increased clinical obligations they were facing, decided that it was not the right time to pull them away from patient care to help with question development.
The longitudinal pathway requires substantially more items compared to the traditional MOC Exam and won’t be available in certain specialties (Adult Congenital Heart Disease, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology and Transplant Hepatology) because there are fewer physicians maintaining certification in these highly specialized areas. Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology will not be available at launch but will be revaluated for 2024.
In Cardiovascular Disease, Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology and Interventional Cardiology, the ABIM/ACC Collaborative Maintenance Pathway will be available.
All diplomates will continue to have the traditional 10-year MOC exam available.
You will be able to start engaging with the longitudinal pathway as soon as it launches in your specialty.
- All board certified physicians can start participating in the longitudinal pathway in their assessment due year. Physicians will continue to be reported as “Certified” as long as they are meeting the longitudinal participation requirement, and a decision on their performance is made in the fifth year.
- Physicians that hold a lifetime certification can use the longitudinal pathway as an educational activity that will help them meet their MOC participation requirement. No physician with a lifetime certification will ever lose certification due to not meeting an assessment requirement.
- The longitudinal assessment option can be used to regain certification; however, please note that because a decision on performance is not made until the end of the fifth year of participation, a physician will be reported as “Not Certified” until that time. A physician whose certification has lapsed may use the traditional, 10-year MOC exam to restore certification more quickly.
- Any physician in their grace year must pass the traditional 10-year MOC exam by the end of the grace year in order to continue to be reported as “Certified.”
Getting Ready for 2022
- If you have an MOC requirement due in 2020—including points, assessments or attestations—you now have until 12/31/21 to complete these requirements in light of COVID-19.
- If you have an assessment due in 2020 or 2021, taking and passing a Knowledge Check-In ensures you’ll be able to seamlessly roll into the new longitudinal pathway if it is available in your specialty.
- You can also take the traditional 10-year MOC exam in your due year. If you pass, you won’t have an assessment due again for another 10 years, but you’ll have the option to engage in the longitudinal pathway for educational purposes – and MOC points – if you’d like.
- The Knowledge Check-In will no longer be offered after 2021, and the new longitudinal pathway will take its place as an alternative to the traditional 10-year MOC exam, which will continue to be an assessment option.
If You're Due for an Assessment in 2020
Due to the unprecedented demands of COVID-19, ABIM announced that physicians with an assessment, attestation or points due in 2020 will have until 12/31/21 to complete them. Please note the availability of the Knowledge Check-In varies by specialty.
- If you pass, your next assessment is due in 2024, at which point you can start participating in the longitudinal pathway (pending availability in your specialty).
- If you pass, your next assessment is due in 10 years, at which point you can choose between the longitudinal pathway (if it’s available in your specialty) or continue to take the traditional MOC exam.
Sign in to your personalized Physician Portal to view upcoming requirements and due dates.
If You're Due for an Assessment in 2021
- If you pass, your next assessment is due in 2025, at which point you can start participating in the longitudinal pathway (pending availability in your specialty).
- If you pass, your next assessment is due in 10 years, at which point you can choose between the longitudinal pathway (if it’s available in your specialty) or continue to take the traditional MOC Exam.
For Medical Oncologists Taking the ABIM/ASCO Learning & Assessment in 2020
The ABIM/ASCO Learning & Assessment will remain an option for medical oncologists to meet their assessment requirement in 2020. ABIM is working with ASCO to transition the Learning & Assessment into the overall longitudinal pathway in advance of its anticipated 2022 launch. We will conduct targeted outreach to medical oncologists and update ABIM’s website and blog on this work throughout the development process.
In addition to the Learning & Assessment, the traditional 10-year MOC exam will remain an option for medical oncologists to meet their assessment requirement.
All other current MOC program policies will remain in effect, including point requirements. Sign in to your personalized Physician Portal to view upcoming requirements and due dates.
For Cardiologists in the ABIM/ACC Collaborative Maintenance Pathway
ABIM/ACC Collaborative Maintenance Pathway will remain an option for those currently board certified in cardiology or a cardiac specialty to meet their assessment requirement.
In addition to the Collaborative Maintenance Pathway, in 2020 general cardiologists and cardiology specialists will have two other assessment options to choose from:
- The traditional 10-year MOC exam in Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology, Interventional Cardiology and Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Cardiology.
- The Knowledge Check-In, available in several cardiology subspecialties: Advanced Heart Failure & Transplant Cardiology, Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology and Interventional Cardiology. Physicians are encouraged to sign in to their Physician Portal to confirm individual requirements and due dates.
All other current MOC program policies will remain in effect, including point requirements and attestations where applicable. Sign in to your personalized Physician Portal to view requirements, due dates and assessment options.