All candidates/diplomates agree to be bound by ABIM's policies and procedures for certification and Maintenance of Certification (MOC), as they may be amended from time to time. Some of those are listed below. See the full list of policies and procedures.
ABIM's Evaluations and Judgments
Candidates for Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification agree that their professional qualifications, including their moral and ethical standing in the medical profession and their competence in clinical skills, will be evaluated by ABIM, and ABIM's good faith judgment concerning such matters will be final.
ABIM may make inquiry of persons named in candidates' applications and of other persons, such as authorities of licensing bodies, hospitals or other institutions as ABIM may deem appropriate with respect to such matters. Candidates agree that ABIM may provide information it has concerning them to others whom ABIM judges to have a legitimate need for it.
ABIM makes academic and scientific judgments in its evaluations of the results of its assessments. Situations may occur, even through no fault of the candidates, that render results unreliable in the judgment of ABIM. Candidates agree that if ABIM determines that, in its judgment, the results of their assessment are unreliable, ABIM may require the candidates to retake an assessment at its next administration or other time designated by ABIM.
ABIM also may evaluate candidates' or diplomates' fitness for Board Certification – including their professionalism, ethics and integrity – in disciplinary matters, and ABIM's good faith judgment concerning such matters will be final.
ABIM/ABMS Reciprocal Credit for Dual-Boarded Diplomates
If you are dual-boarded by one or more of the other American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member Boards, your MOC points requirement will be waived.
To receive the waiver, ABIM diplomates will need to attest that they are currently certified by and participating in the other Board's MOC program. Diplomates will still need to meet the other ABIM MOC requirements:
- Maintain a valid, unrestricted and unchallenged medical license
- Successfully meet your assessment requirement
- Meet any ABIM-specific, subspecialty-specific procedural requirements
- Eligible diplomates will see a feature in their Physician Portal. This feature will provide access to the attestation form.
- Upon attesting, credit is applied to My MOC Points in their Physician Portal.
- ABIM will randomly audit attestations. Providing false or misleading information could result in disciplinary action by ABIM, including certification revocation and reporting of misrepresentation to state medical licensing boards.
- Physicians will be required to complete a new attestation form every two years in order to continue to receive ABIM MOC credit. When due, a re-attest button will appear on their Physician Portal's home page and a reminder e-mail will be sent to their e-mail address on file with ABIM.
- If ABIM receives information that you are no longer certified by or participating in the MOC program of your other board, you will be removed from the program and your MOC points requirement will be reinstated.
Competency in Technology
Consistent with the ABMS/ACGME General Competencies in Systems-Based Practice, ABIM requires its candidates and diplomates to possess sufficient competencies in information technology, including the use of personal computers, the Internet, and e-mail, for correspondence and completion of examinations and modules throughout their participation in ABIM Certification and Maintenance of Certification programs.
Contact Information Updates and Corrections
ABIM requires your current contact information, including your mailing address, email address and telephone number. Update your contact information online.
Please contact ABIM as soon as possible if your email address changes as it is our primary means of communicating important information to you.
Change Your Name
ABIM uses your full, official name in its records. To change your name, or to correct the spelling of your name, you must notify ABIM in writing.
Send the change and documentation of the change (i.e., copy of marriage certificate, naturalization papers, court order of name change, etc.) to:
American Board of Internal Medicine
510 Walnut Street
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3699
fax 215-446-3590 (use this fax number for name changes only)
email firstname.lastname@example.org (if you can provide documentation in digital form; e.g., pdf)
Any future mailings you receive from ABIM will be mailed under your new name. Your former name will be listed as an "alternate" name in our system. Both forms of your official name will be listed in the database and will appear upon a search of your Certification status in the “Verify a Physician Certification” section of the site.
Correct the Spelling of Your Name
Provide both the correct and incorrect spelling of your name and your ABIM ID and/or Social Security number. In addition, please indicate how your name should be listed in our records, by providing your full first, middle and last names.
Request a Preferred Name
When you become certified, you may request to have a “preferred” name printed on your ABIM certificate (i.e., nickname, hyphenated last name, middle initial only, maiden name, etc.). However, ABIM maintains your full, official name in its records and will change it only if you inform ABIM of an official name change and provide documentation of the name change.
ABIM considers the Certification and Maintenance of Certification participation status of its candidates and diplomates to be public information.
ABIM provides a diplomate's Board Certification status, Maintenance of Certification and personal identifying information, including mailing address, e-mail address and last four digits of a diplomate's Social Security number, to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB), the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) (which publishes The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists), and to other credential and licensure verification organizations. FSMB uses personal identifying information, including the last four digits of Social Security numbers, as unique internal identifiers and is required to maintain the confidentiality of this information. ABMS also uses the last four digits of Social Security numbers as unique internal identifiers, and publishes other personal identifying information (but not Social Security numbers) for purposes of The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists. ABMS contacts diplomates directly to verify the accuracy of the information published in the directory and to obtain consent to publish such information. On request, ABIM provides a diplomate's Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification status and address to professional medical societies and other organizations that provide ABIM-sanctioned educational resources and products used for Self-Evaluation of Medical Knowledge or Practice Assessment in the Maintenance of Certification program.
ABIM provides residency and fellowship training program directors with information about a trainee's prior training and pass/fail status on certifying examinations. If a trainee has given permission, ABIM will provide the program director with the trainee's score on their first attempt at the Certification examination for that area of training. ABIM uses examination performance, training program evaluations, outcomes-based milestones for resident performance, Self-Evaluation of Medical Knowledge and Practice Assessment, and other information for its determination of eligibility and qualification of candidates for certification, for evaluation of resident development and performance, and/or for research and related purposes. In any such research, ABIM will not identify specific individuals, hospitals or practice associations. Candidates acknowledge and agree that examination performance and milestones data may be shared by and between ABIM and ACGME. All practice performance data is HIPAA-compliant.
ABIM reserves the right to disclose information it possesses about any individual whom it judges has violated ABIM rules, engaged in misrepresentation or unprofessional behavior, or shows signs of impairment.
Copyright and Examination Non-Disclosure Policy
All ABIM materials are protected by the federal Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101, et seq. Access to all such materials, as further detailed below, is strictly conditioned upon agreement to abide by ABIM's rights under the Copyright Act and to maintain examination confidentiality.
ABIM assessments are confidential, in addition to being protected by federal copyright and trade secret laws. Candidates and diplomates who undertake assessments agree that they will not copy, reproduce, adapt, disclose or transmit assessments, in whole or in part, before or after taking an assessment, by any means now known or hereafter invented. They further agree that they will not reconstruct assessment content from memory, by dictation, or by any other means or otherwise discuss assessment content with others. Candidates and diplomates further acknowledge that disclosure or any other use of ABIM assessment content constitutes professional misconduct and may expose them to criminal as well as civil liability, and may also result in ABIM's imposition of penalties against them, including but not limited to, invalidation of assessment results, exclusion from future assessments, suspension or revocation of board certification and other sanctions.
With respect to ABIM's Maintenance of Certification (MOC) products, including its medical knowledge modules, candidates agree that they will not copy, reproduce or make any adaptations of such materials in any manner; and will not assist someone else in the infringement or misuse of these or any other ABIM-copyrighted works.
It is ABIM's policy to comply with Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). ABIM will offer its examinations in a place and manner accessible to persons with qualifying disabilities or offer alternative accessible arrangements for such individuals, where feasible. In addition, ABIM will make reasonable modifications, upon request, to its examination procedures or provide auxiliary aides or services for candidates with documented disabilities, provided that the change does not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge being assessed and that it is not unduly burdensome. Please note that there are specific registration deadlines for requesting a modification to allow for the creation of special exam formats. For additional information about the process and documentation requirements, as well as deadlines and confidentiality, please refer to Accommodation for Test Takers with Disabilities or contact ABIM at email@example.com.
Disciplinary Sanctions and Appeals
ABIM may, at its discretion, rescind a diplomate's Board Certification if the diplomate was not qualified to receive the certificate at the time it was issued, even if the certificate was issued as a result of a mistake on the part of ABIM.
ABIM may impose disciplinary sanctions, including the suspension or revocation of Board Certification or participation Certification or Maintenance of Certification processes, invalidation of an examination, or other professional sanctions, if ABIM obtains evidence that in its judgment demonstrates that a candidate or diplomate: (1) has had a license to practice medicine restricted in any jurisdiction, has surrendered a license but continues to hold a valid license in another jurisdiction, or has had one or more licenses suspended or revoked but continues to hold a valid license; (2) engaged in irregular or improper behavior or other misconduct in connection with an ABIM examination; (3) made a material misstatement of fact or omission in connection to ABIM with an application, or misrepresented their Board Certification or Board Eligibility status to anyone; (4) failed to maintain moral, ethical or professional behavior satisfactory to ABIM; or (5) engaged in misconduct that adversely affects professional competence or integrity.
In the event ABIM obtains such evidence, it shall so notify the physician in writing. Such notification shall: (1) advise the physician that the ABIM Credentials and Certification Committee (“CCC”) will determine on behalf of ABIM, no fewer than 45 days after the date of the notice, whether to recommend any disciplinary sanction; (2) summarize the evidence in ABIM's possession; (3) include copies of any documentary evidence in ABIM's possession; (4) provide the physician an opportunity to make a written submission to the CCC; (5) disclose the policy(ies) and/or procedure(s) pursuant to which ABIM may recommend a sanction, and the possible sanction(s); (6) advise the physician that the failure to respond timely to the notice may be considered unprofessional and weighed against the physician by the CCC; and (7) advise the physician that if the CCC recommends a sanction, the physician would have a right of appeal with an in-person or telephonic hearing before a panel designated by ABIM's Board of Directors.
In the event the CCC determines to recommend a disciplinary sanction, it shall so notify the physician in writing. Such notification will: (1) set forth the factual bases for such determination; (2) summarize the reasons for such determination; (3) advise the physician of their right to request an appeal of the CCC's determination; (4) advise the physician that any request for an appeal must be submitted to ABIM within 30 days of the date of the notice of the CCC's determination; (5) provide procedural information about the appeal process; (6) advise the physician that if a hearing is requested, ABIM will provide notice of the members of the appeal panel and the date, time and if applicable, place of the hearing at least 45 days in advance of the hearing; and (7) advise the physician that while a recommended sanction is not final and does not affect a physician's Board Certification status, a physician who is subject to a recommended sanction is not eligible to participate in the Certification process. If a physician declines to appeal a recommended sanction, the recommended sanction determined by the CCC shall become the final decision of ABIM.
An appeal of a recommended sanction shall be determined by a panel consisting of three non-ABIM employee physicians designated by ABIM's Board of Directors and including at least one member of the Board of Directors (an “Appeal Panel”). An Appeal Panel shall have the discretion to affirm, rescind or modify a recommended sanction, or impose an alternative sanction. In advance of each appeal hearing ABIM shall provide each member of the Appeal Panel and the physician appellant with copies of the documentary record for the physician's sanction and appeal proceeding. In its consideration of an appeal of a recommended sanction, an Appeal Panel shall not be bound by any technical rules of evidence, shall consider any information timely submitted by or on behalf of the physician at any stage of the proceeding, and shall hold a hearing. At an appeal hearing, the physician and/or the physician's counsel may present information and, subject to the Appeal Panel's discretion, witnesses. ABIM's counsel may ask questions of the physician, the physician’s counsel, and any witnesses. Appeal hearings shall be transcribed by a professional stenographer. After reaching a decision, an Appeal Panel shall notify the physician of its decision in writing. Such written decision shall include the factual bases of the decision and a summary of the reasons for the decision. The decision of the majority of an Appeal Panel shall be the final decision of ABIM.
The foregoing sanction and appeal procedures shall apply to matters arising on or after July 1, 2013. Earlier arising matters will be handled in accordance with ABIM's policies and procedures previously in effect.
Notwithstanding these procedures, ABIM reserves the right to revoke or suspend a diplomate's Board Certification summarily in extraordinary circumstances.
ABIM, in its sole discretion, may notify local credentialing bodies, licensing bodies, law enforcement agencies, program directors, impaired physicians advocacy groups or others of any final disciplinary sanctions.
To regain Board Certification after a suspension, the physician must comply with such conditions as ABIM may impose and successfully complete ABIM's Maintenance of Certification program.
False or Inaccurate Medical Information
While ABIM recognizes the importance of legitimate scientific debate, physicians have an ethical and professional responsibility to provide information that is factual, scientifically grounded, and consensus driven. Providing false or inaccurate information to patients or the public is unprofessional and unethical, and violates the trust that the profession of medicine and the public have in ABIM Board Certification. Therefore, such conduct constitutes grounds for disciplinary sanctions.
Errors and Disruptions in Examination Administration
Occasionally problems occur in the creation, administration and scoring of examinations. For example, power failures, hardware and software problems, human errors or weather problems may interfere with some part of the examination process. When such problems occur and ABIM determines that they have compromised the integrity of the examination results, ABIM will provide affected candidates with an opportunity for re-examination. Re-examination shall be the candidate's sole remedy. ABIM shall not be liable for inconvenience, expense or other damage caused by any problems in the creation, administration or scoring of an examination, including the need for retesting or delays in score reporting. In no circumstance will ABIM reduce its standards as a means of correcting a problem in examination administration.
Those who take ABIM assessments have a continuing obligation to maintain examination confidentiality.
All ABIM 10-year traditional MOC examinations are administered in secure testing centers by test administrators who are responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of the certification process. Test administrators are required to report to ABIM any irregular or improper behavior by an individual, such as giving or obtaining information or aid, looking at the test material of others, removing examination materials from the test center, taking notes, bringing unauthorized items, including electronic devices (e.g., pagers, cell phones, tablets, smartphones, etc.), into the examination, failing to comply with time limits or instructions, talking or other disruptive behavior. Test administrators may intervene to stop any of the foregoing. In addition, as part of its effort to assure exam integrity, ABIM utilizes data forensic techniques that use statistical analyses of test-response data to identify patterns of test fraud, including cheating and copyright infringement. ABIM investigates all reports of irregular or improper activity.
All ABIM two-year Knowledge Check-Ins are administered either in a secure testing center or online in a location such as a home or office. Knowledge Check-Ins taken outside of a secure testing center are recorded using a video camera and a percentage of videos are audited for any irregular or improper behavior by an individual, such as obtaining unauthorized information or aid, taking notes, bringing unauthorized items, including electronic devices (e.g., pagers, cell phones, tablets, smartphones, etc.), into the test area, or failing to comply with time limits or instructions.
Irregular or improper behavior in examinations that is observed, made apparent by data forensics or statistical analysis, or uncovered by other means will be considered a subversion of the certification process and will constitute grounds for invalidation of an individual's examination and subject the individual to disciplinary sanctions, including suspension or revocation of board certification or eligibility to participate in Certification or MOC processes. Failure to fully cooperate with an ABIM investigation is considered unprofessional conduct and constitutes grounds for disciplinary sanctions.
ABIM candidates and diplomates for Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification must possess a permanent, valid, unrestricted and unchallenged medical license in the United States, its territories or Canada. Physicians practicing exclusively abroad and who do not hold a U.S. or Canadian license must hold a license where they practice and provide documentation from the relevant licensing authority that their license is in good standing and without conditions or restrictions. Restrictions include but are not limited to conditions, contingencies, probation, limitations and stipulated agreements.
A physician with a restricted, suspended, revoked or surrendered license in any jurisdiction is not eligible to be certified or admitted to a Certification examination. ABIM will suspend or revoke the Board Certification of any diplomate who has a suspended, revoked or surrendered license in one or more jurisdictions and no valid license in any jurisdiction. A diplomate who has a suspended, revoked or surrendered license in one or more jurisdictions but who continues to hold a valid license in another jurisdiction – or a diplomate whose license in any jurisdiction has been restricted – may be subject to disciplinary sanctions, including the suspension or revocation of the physician's Board Certification.
Meeting the Assessment Requirement for a Lapsed Certificate
Physicians whose certification has lapsed can meet their assessment requirement by passing one traditional, 10-year MOC examination or by successfully participating in the Longitudinal Knowledge Assessment (LKA™). However, because a decision on performance is not made until the end of the 5th year of the LKA cycle, such physicians choosing the LKA cannot regain certification for at least 5 years.
Assessment Grace Period Policy
Due to the extension of MOC requirements, no physician will be put into the grace period for not meeting MOC requirements in 2020 or 2021. Physicians who already in the grace period will have their grace periods extended through 2022. Please see an important update about MOC requirement deadline extensions in light of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Physicians will be granted an additional year (called the grace period) to meet their assessment requirement if they are certified, meeting all other MOC requirements and:
- They fail the traditional, 10-year MOC exam in their assessment; or
- They are enrolled in the LKA and exceed their 100 unopened questions; or
- They are enrolled in the LKA and do not meet the performance standard at the end of the 5th year.
During the grace period, physicians will continue to be publicly reported as Certified. They will need to pass the traditional, 10-year MOC exam by the end of the grace period year in order to avoid a change to their certification status. Once passed, a physician's next assessment due date will be 10 years from the last pass, even if that pass was during the grace period year.
Meeting the Assessment Requirement for a Certificate in the Grace Period
Physicians in the grace period are ineligible for the LKA and must pass the traditional, 10-year MOC exam by the end of their grace period year to remain certified.
Consequence of Not Meeting the LKA Participation Requirement
Over the course of 5 years, physicians in LKA will be offered 600 questions and must open at least 500 to meet the LKA Participation Requirement.
Physicians who do not meet the LKA Participation Requirement will be unenrolled from LKA and must pass the traditional, 10-year MOC exam the following year to stay certified as long as they are meeting all other MOC requirements.
Re-examination for traditional, 10-year MOC exam
Physicians who are unsuccessful on the traditional, 10-year MOC exam can re-take the exam during any future exam administration. There is no restriction on the total number of opportunities for re-examination. Physicians earn 20 Medical Knowledge MOC points for every attempt of the traditional, 10-year MOC exam.
Representation of Board Certification and Board Eligibility Status
Physicians must accurately state their ABIM Board Certification or Board Eligibility status at all times. This includes descriptions in curriculum vitae, advertisements, publications, directories and letterheads.
Please note: ABIM does not authorize the use of its logo by others. Diplomates with expired time-limited certification or those whose certification is suspended or revoked may not claim ABIM Board Certification and must revise all descriptions of their qualifications accordingly. Additionally, a candidate who does not meet the requirements for Board Eligibility set forth above may not represent themselves as Board Eligible. Diplomates who have multiple certifications and allow one of them to lapse should revise their public materials (letterhead, business cards, advertisements, etc.) to reflect those certifications that are currently valid.
A physician who misrepresents his or her Board Certification or Board Eligibility status may be subject to disciplinary sanctions, including the revocation or suspension of the physician's Board Certification or eligibility to participate in Board Certification or Maintenance of Certification processes.
Reporting Certification Status
ABIM, in addition to reporting certification status, reports whether or not diplomates are participating in MOC.
On a candidate's written request to ABIM, the following information may also be provided in writing: (1) that an application for Board Certification or Maintenance of Certification is currently in process and/or (2) the year the candidate was last admitted to an examination.
If a candidate or an ABIM Board Certified physician has a history of substance abuse, documentation of at least one year of continuous sobriety from a reliable monitoring source must be submitted to ABIM for admission to an examination or to receive a certificate. ABIM treats such information as confidential.