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ABMS Approves New Standards for Physician Certification Program

ABMS Approves New Standards for Physician Certification Program

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), comprised of 24 Member Boards that oversee physician certification in the United States, announces the adoption of new standards that outline continuing professional development for Board Certified physicians.

The ABMS Board of Directors (BOD) approved the new Standards for the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) at its January 15 meeting. Voluntary Board Certification, and maintaining that certification through educational programs, improves health care decision-making by physicians and helps Board Certified physicians remain current in an increasingly complex practice environment.

"ABMS and its Member Boards have evolved certification into an ongoing program of continuing learning and assessment," said Lois Margaret Nora, MD, JD, MBA, ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer. "The new ABMS Standards for the Program for MOC encourage innovative approaches to continuing development and assessment that physician specialists will find meaningful and helpful. These standards ultimately help ensure that patients continue to receive the high quality medical care that they have grown to expect from Board Certified physicians."

The ABMS Program for MOC focuses on key physician skills and knowledge critical for improving health care. The new standards provide a framework for Member Boards to use in developing their own Programs for MOC. Each Member Board will be expected to meet the standards that speak to the common elements across the Member Boards while permitting appropriate distinctions among the specialties. The standards adopt a patient-centric perspective with a greater emphasis on professionalism, patient safety, and performance improvement.

"The new standards also encourage the Member Boards to work with their diplomates and to be aware of their complex and diverse practice environments, regulatory requirements, and learning needs as they design and implement their Programs for MOC," said Thomas E. Norris, MD, ABMS BOD Chair. "Each Member Board is asked to take into consideration the physician diplomates' cost, time, and administrative burden associated with participation."

The standards were developed during a two-year process with input from groups ranging from medical professionals to the public. Subsequently, ABMS solicited additional feedback about the standards during a two-month comment period on its website and received more than 625 comments from organizations and individuals. The standards, which will be implemented during 2014, will take effect in 2015.

To review the standards, click here.

For more information about the new standards, please contact Richard Waters at