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In 2022 ABIM anticipates launching a longitudinal option for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in as many specialties as possible. ABIM reimagined this program with physicians’ personal and professional needs in mind: greater flexibility, more convenience, increased relevancy and faster feedback.

We continue to utilize feedback from the community to develop this new option, and wanted to share some updates on our progress and what you can do now to prepare.

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How Does the Longitudinal Program Work?

The longitudinal option 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. In those instances you must pass the traditional MOC exam the following year to remain certified.

Features of Longitudinal

Use the longitudinal pathway to meet your MOC assessment requirement; or you can use it to earn MOC points and still take the traditional 10-year MOC exam.

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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 physicians will be offered 600 questions (120 per year, delivered periodically) and can skip up to 100 to meet the participation requirement.

Physicians must decide to skip a question before they open it, so the question won't count against them in scoring.

A physician can decide how many questions they’d like to skip—from zero up to a maximum of 100 over five years—and when to skip based upon their personal situation and what works best for them.

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.

Eligibility

All physicians will be able to start engaging with the longitudinal option as soon as it launches in their specialty.

  • All board certified physicians can start participating in the longitudinal pathway at any time up until and including 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 certificate can also engage in the longitudinal option as an educational activity that will help them meet their MOC participation requirement. No physician with a lifetime certificate 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 will be eligible to start participating in this pathway. However, they must pass the 10-year 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 option.
  • You can also take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam in your due year. While you won’t have an assessment due again for another 10 years, you’ll have the option to engage in the longitudinal option as soon as it launches in your specialty if you’d like.
  • The current format of the Knowledge Check-In, (i.e. an every-other-year assessment) will end at the close of 2021, and the new longitudinal option will take its place. The traditional 10 year MOC exam will continue as an option beyond 2021.

If You're Due for an Assessment in 2020

In light 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.

Take a Knowledge Check-In (if available)...

  • If you pass, your next assessment is due in four years.
  • Then you can start participating in longitudinal (pending availability in your specialty)
  • Once engaged in the longitudinal pathway, answer at least 500 questions over five years to meet the participation requirement.
  • At the end of the fifth year, ABIM calculates your score against the performance standard. Successfully meeting the performance standard means a physician can continue in the longitudinal pathway; failure to meet it does not result in loss of certification. A physician then must pass the traditional MOC exam the following year to remain certified.
OR... Take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam

  • If you pass, your next assessment is due in 10 years.
  • You can start participating in the longitudinal option if you would like and it’s available in your specialty, any time before or including your due year.
  • There’s no risk to your certification status by starting the longitudinal program early.
  • If you choose not to engage in the longitudinal option, you can take the traditional MOC exam by your assessment due date.

ABIM recommends that physicians regularly sign in to their personalized Physician Portal to check for any upcoming deadlines and guidance on their requirements.

If You're Due for an Assessment in 2021

Take a Knowledge Check-In (if available)...

  • If you pass, your next assessment is due in four years.
  • Then you can start participating in longitudinal (pending availability in your specialty) or you can wait until your due year.
  • Once engaged in the longitudinal pathway, answer at least 500 questions over five years to meet the participation requirement.
  • At the end of the fifth year, ABIM calculates your performance against the passing standard. Successfully meeting the passing standard means a physician can continue in the longitudinal pathway; failure to meet it does not result in loss of certification. A physician then must pass the traditional MOC exam the following year to remain certified.
OR... Take the traditional, 10-year MOC exam
  • If you pass, your next assessment is due in 10 years.
  • You can start participating in the longitudinal option if you would like and it’s available in your specialty, any time before or including your due year.
  • There’s no risk to your certification status by starting the longitudinal program early.
  • If you choose not to engage in the longitudinal option, you can take the traditional MOC exam by your assessment due date.

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 will work closely with ASCO to align the Learning & Assessment with the overall longitudinal assessment 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 points requirements. Physicians are encouraged to sign in to their Physician Portal to confirm individual 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 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:

  1. The traditional 10-year MOC exam in cardiovascular disease and all cardiology subspecialties
  2. 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 points requirements and attestations where applicable. Sign in to your personalized Physician Portal to confirm your due dates and see what assessment options are available to you.