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Initial Certification indicates that physicians have met rigorous standards through intensive study, accredited training and evaluation and that they have the clinical judgment, skills and attitudes essential for the delivery of excellent patient care.

MOC is a professionally determined standard that attests that an internist is staying current in knowledge and practice throughout his/her career.

For more than 75 years, Certification by ABIM has stood for the highest standard in internal medicine and its 20 subspecialties.

Changes to MOC Assessment

Below are some questions and answers to help you navigate ABIM's 3/29/17 announcement:

Why did ABIM decide to go with the two-year assessment option? What factors were considered?

Through surveys, focus groups and other discussions, thousands of physicians and several medical societies told ABIM they were interested in new assessment options. ABIM Council, a body of practicing physicians representing several internal medicine subspecialties, reviewed all input. Across all conversations, physicians requested choice, relevance and convenience in how they complete periodic assessments. Taking all of this into account, the shorter, lower stakes assessment every two years emerged as an option that offers physicians the most choice, relevance and convenience – as well as the option that has the most flexibility to focus future assessments on a subset of knowledge relevant to practice.

When can I take the two-year assessment?

Beginning in 2018, ABIM will provide eligible physicians certified in Internal Medicine or in Nephrology with a choice of taking an open-book long-form assessment every 10 years or an ABIM Knowledge Check-In every two years. ABIM will continue working with physicians to make both assessments relevant to practice. We are working to make the new option available for all subspecialties as soon as possible. View the tentative rollout schedule to find out when the Knowledge Check-In will be available in your specialty.

What is the two-year assessment option?

The ABIM Knowledge Check-In is a shorter, lower-stakes assessment given every two years that you can take in the comfort of your home, office, or at a test center. You'll have a number of dates from which to choose when scheduling the assessment. Performance results (i.e., whether you are successful or not) will be available immediately after the assessment for most physicians.

Will the assessment cover the breadth of my discipline or be more targeted?

Initially, the assessment will cover the breadth of your discipline but ABIM is continuing to explore how we might be able to move to assessing a subset of knowledge relevant to practice in the future, since many physicians requested this.

In 2018, why should I consider taking the two-year ABIM Knowledge Check-In?

To help ABIM gain experience with this new approach, the first time the 2018 ABIM Knowledge Check-In is offered, there will be no consequence for those who do not pass. If a physician is successful on the ABIM Knowledge Check-In in 2018, it will count as a pass. If a physician is not successful, they will have another opportunity to take it again two years later.

What does “no consequence” mean?

If a physician is successful on the ABIM Knowledge Check-In in 2018, it will count as a pass. If a physician is not successful, they will have another opportunity to take it again two years later. “No consequences” doesn’t mean physicians can skip the assessment. If a physician skips it, and their certification expires in 2018, their certification status will change to Not Certified. In addition to meeting other certification requirements, physicians with certifications expiring in 2018 will need to take the long-form assessment (ABIM's enhanced 10-year exam) or the ABIM Knowledge Check-In or they will no longer be certified.

What's the difference between the ABIM Knowledge Check-In and the long-form assessment?

The most obvious difference is that the ABIM Knowledge Check-In can be taken in the comfort of your home or office. Secondly, it will be a much shorter, lower stakes experience than the long-form assessment (ABIM's enhanced 10-year exam). Performance results (i.e., whether you are successful or not) will be available immediately after the ABIM Knowledge Check-In for most physicians. More detailed feedback about your performance will follow.

If I choose the ABIM Knowledge Check-In, will I still have to take the long-form assessment?

If you do well on the ABIM Knowledge Check-Ins, you won’t need to take the long-form assessment (ABIM’s enhanced 10-year exam) to remain certified.

What if I don't do well? Could I lose my certification with the two-year assessment option?

You do not need to be successful on every two-year assessment. But, if you are unsuccessful on two consecutive attempts or if there is a longer gap between successful assessments, you will need to pass the long-form exam (ABIM’s enhanced 10-year exam) to maintain certification.

Why can't the ABIM Knowledge Check-In be available for all subspecialties in 2018? When will I be eligible for the Knowledge Check-In in my subspecialty?

New assessments take time to develop and, in 2018, Internal Medicine and Nephrology will be the only ABIM Knowledge Check-Ins available. View the tentative rollout schedule to find out when the Knowledge Check-In will be available in your specialty.

When will I need to pay? How much does this cost?

ABIM is still working out the details on the MOC program fees and payment options, including those for the ABIM Knowledge Check-Ins. We will provide more information this fall, giving you time to consider your payment options before you would need to take the 2018 assessment. Total program fees paid over a 10-year period are expected to remain close to current levels, and there will be more payment options.

My certification is due to expire in 2017 but the ABIM Knowledge Check-In will be available in 2018. Can't I just wait and take that?

All physicians with certifications that expire before the ABIM Knowledge Check-In is offered in their specialty will still need to take and pass the long-form assessment (ABIM’s 10-year exam) in order to maintain their certification. Once you pass the long-form assessment, you will have 10 years before you need to take another assessment.

When will the open-book feature be available?

View the tentative rollout schedule to find out when the open-book feature will be available in your specialty.