PHILADELPHIA, PA – With a vocal outcry from physicians steadily rising, the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has grudgingly decided to roll back several aspects of its new Maintenance of Certification (MOC) plan. This new plan, created “to ensure that physicians were held to the highest standards in care,” has been the source of acrid debate.
After months of complaints, several new requirements set to begin in 2015 have been placed on hold. Specifically, ABIM’s Patient Care Scavenger Hunt, which required physicians to travel across their hometown, searching through patients’ homes for hidden “Maintenance of Certification Coins,” was deemed “too time-consuming,” “irrelevant,” and “creepy.” Physicians also complained that ABIM’s “Coin Redemption” fees, which required physicians to pay an additional $150 each time they redeemed an MOC coin, were exorbitant.
“We hear you. We got it wrong. The scavenger hunt was too lengthy and many physicians found the physical fitness requirements unreachable. Our goal of trying to bring the patient perspective into the MOC Program probably should have been better thought through before we hid MOC coins in thousands of patients homes,” said ABIM representative Rick Barren.
The ABIM will now be offering a shortened version of the scavenger hunt: Doctors hoping to remain certified can pay the ABIM $1100 to conduct the scavenger hunt in their own office and can enlist the assistance of a “Certification Coin Specialist” to help him or her find the coins and meet their requirements. For a nominal $750 fee payable to the ABIM, these specialists will help guide doctors through the process of finding MOC coins hidden in their own exam rooms. As a bonus, the coin redemption fees have been dropped.
“This is about assuring that ABIM certification represents the highest standards in patient care,” said Barren.
The physical fitness requirements, which mandated a 7 mile run and 3 mile open-water swim, were revoked after hundreds of elderly physicians complained.
“We had been planning to offer a $2200 ABIM physical MOC training experience to prepare docs for this requirement, but this may just be too much too soon; we’re listening and we are eager for feedback. People are saying that these new initiatives are really about our organization’s dismal financial stewardship and that’s just not true. It’s about providing high quality patient care,” said Barren.
For $2350, doctors can attend an ABIM MOC feedback session in Philadelphia in October.