Recertification process being addressed

The American Board of Family Medicine said it is responding to feedback from family physicians.

By Damon Adams — Posted March 14, 2005

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The president of the American Academy of Family Physicians said the organization was making progress in getting officials to address its members' concerns with the maintenance of certification process.

The American Board of Family Medicine is now giving family physicians until April 15 to complete the 2004 self-assessment module required as part of the board's MOC program. That's 3½ months beyond the original Dec. 31, 2004, deadline, officials said. But AAFP President Mary Frank, MD, cautioned that the extension isn't automatic; diplomates must ask for it.

Still, the move is a sign that the board is willing to listen to family physicians, the California family physician said.

Some family physicians have complained that MOC is burdensome and requires too-frequent testing. They said the process needs revising to make it less cumbersome and confusing.

In November 2004, the AAFP sent a letter to the ABFM, asking the board to make self-assessment modules an optional part of the process through 2005. In January, AAFP and ABFM leaders met to discuss physician concerns.

The ABFM has made about 20 adjustments to the MOC process after getting the physician feedback, including giving physicians the ability to download module questions that may be completed offline, said Joseph Tollison, MD, ABFM deputy executive director. "These are things we did in response to their recommendations, and we're grateful to them for that [feedback]," Dr. Tollison said.

Meanwhile, the American Board of Internal Medicine has worked with the American College of Physicians to make the MOC process for internists smoother. The college expanded its online recertification resources, offering online support to physicians completing the self-evaluation process module on recent advances in internal medicine. Some medical societies are offering workshops on MOC.

"We have been excited about the collaboration and the success of working with the societies," ABIM spokeswoman Leslie Goode said.

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