ABIM, primary care

Oh, Joy.

I’ve written before about how I’m in the process of re-certifying my Internal Medicine Board Certification.  This exciting process has taken about 18 months, and it culminates next week when I take my exam.  The entire process has pretty much been a pain in the ass, and an expensive one at that, costing $1675.00.  That doesn’t include review materials and the review course that I took.

One of the things that has kept me going through this process was the thought that it would be 10 long years before I had to do this again.

Until I checked my email this morning and read this email, with the subject line, “Coming in 2014: Important Changes to ABIM’s MOC Program.” My morning was instantly ruined.

Here are the important changes: basically, maintenance of certification is now going to have to be done on a yearly basis.  A certain amount of points will have to be earned every year.  The exam is still every 10 years.

Why are these changes being made?  Well, the Board claims it will help us “keep pace with the changes in the science of medicine.”  Whatever.  I can firmly say, on the cusp of completing my most recent MOC, that it served no value to my knowledge base whatsoever.  I already have to do 50 hours of continuing medical education a year to keep my license, and in reality I do much more than that.  This is just busy work.  Oh, I get to pay $200 a year for the privilege of doing it.

Here’s my opinion of the real reason.


There are roughly 250,000 ABIM diplomates.  Let’s say that 10% a year do MOC under the current requirements (probably a good estimate, since you have to re-certify every 10 years).  At $1675 a pop, that’s $41 million a year in MOC income.

Now let’s charge all 250,000 ABIM diplomates $200/year for MOC.  That’s an even $50 million.  Oh, look.  The ABIM just increased its bottom line by almost $10 million per year.  Just like that.  Over a 10 year cycle, they’re up $100 million.

I wish I could make money by just changing the rules on people.

So, in summary, all I have to say to the ABIM is, “You suck.  Really.  Thanks for NOTHING.”

7 thoughts on “Oh, Joy.”

  1. Marni, you are absolutely correct. It ia all about the money. They say it is “voluntary” so you could say “no.” If your medical staff requires board certification for some unknown reason, it is important for members of the medical staff change the rules so that board certification is no longer required. Then you could truly ignore this MOC stuff and proceed with your own education as you see kit.


  2. I certified in 2005. With my 10 years almost up and trying to keep up with my allergy MOC I think these guys have just convinced me to not bother recertifying.


  3. Found out about it via a postcard from the ABIM. It ruined my morning as well. The thought of having to another time sucking MOC activity or PIM just makes me sad.


  4. There is absolutely no clinical outcomes data nor malpractice databthat supports the assumption if youn recertify, you give better care. Go to hell ABIM.


  5. Absolutely right! These criminals are as bad as the extortionista lawyers (of course lawyers don't retake their bar exam every 10 years). The whole time I was taking my last board exam two months ago I was thinking what a joke the whole exam was. I passed but at a cost of several thousand dollars and a lot of grief, time away from work and family. Every state requires ongoing CME and everyone reads or looks up information just as a routine part of practice; so what purpose does the recert process serve? The purpose served is to enrich the very organization that is enslaving its members. Perhaps speaking in a language they understand ie: class action lawsuit.


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