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American College of Rheumatology Issues Physician-Driven Position Statement on ABIM’s Maintenance of Certification Requirements

ATLANTA – The American College of Rheumatology has released a statement outlining the ACR’s position on the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM’s) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. The position statement was drafted and vetted during a three-month collaboration between ACR leadership and its members where nearly 1,100 rheumatologists provided feedback that was used to formulate the final statement.

“Rheumatologists without a doubt believe in the value of continuing medical education,” said E. William St.Clair, MD, American College of Rheumatology president. “However, our members strongly feel the ABIM MOC program not only fails to appropriately assess their competence but lacks evidence that patients are benefiting from their involvement with it.”

The statement contains seven positions the College requests the ABIM to consider when developing any future MOC requirements. Highlights include strong beliefs that:

  • The current ABIM MOC program does not meet the educational needs of rheumatologists and should be modified to allow physicians to develop and implement a continuing professional development plan relevant to his/her professional roles and responsibilities.
  • The ABIM should not reinstate the Practice assessment, Patient Voice and Patient Safety requirements as part of the recertification process, because they are redundant with existing requirements that measure and report the quality of care patients receive such as PQRS, Meaningful Use and Value Based Modifier reporting. Additionally, patient voice and patient safety are already assessed by health institutions, accountable care organizations and state and local licensing requirements.
  • The secure, closed-book, high-stakes MOC examination should be eliminated, because it is not an appropriate means of assessing clinical knowledge or decision-making for the purpose of recertification.
  • The ABIM should fund an independent, external review to examine the performance and impact of its program, including all policies, procedures, organizational structure and governance; and commit to revising the program if the independent evaluation does not identify a substantial benefit to patient care.

The position statement also addresses the redundancy of physicians being required to obtain both CME and MOC medical knowledge credits, the need to reduce program costs, and the desire for evidence the program is improving physician competence.

“We are encouraged by the recent changes the ABIM has made and hope the ABIM will strongly take into consideration the position of the College and our members as it continues to reform the MOC program,” said Joel Block, MD, ACR Committee on Education chair. “We share the same goal of ensuring our patients receive the highest quality of care available, but we have identified numerous areas where the current MOC process fails in this aim while substantially adding to physicians’ administrative and cost burdens. It is our desire to see barriers that prevent our members from pursuing meaningful educational activities in order to meet MOC requirements removed.”

View the position statement in its entirety. For more information, or to schedule an interview with an ACR representative, contact Jocelyn Givens at or 404-633-3777, ext. 810.

Jocelyn Givens
404-633-3777, ext. 810


The American College of Rheumatology is an international medical society representing over 9,400 rheumatologists and rheumatology health professionals with a mission to Advance Rheumatology! In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatologists are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit

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