ACC Board Issues Guidance on Next Steps in MOC Effort

This post was authored by ACC President Kim Allan Williams Sr., MD, FACC.

Each August the ACC’s Board of Trustees comes together for a mid-year check-in on College activities and progress towards strategic goals. This meeting is also an important time for College leaders to make decisions relating to hot issues that have emerged since the last meeting in March.

This year’s meeting was no different, with ACC leaders and staff presenting on efforts to date around the College’s four strategic themes of population health, transformation of care, purposeful education, and member value and engagement. However, one of the hottest topics at this year’s meeting was the American Board of Internal Medicine’s (ABIM) controversial Maintenance of Certification (MOC) policies and how to move forward in a manner that best meets the needs of internal medicine physicians and the patients they serve.

Two ACC Task Forces have spent the last several months 1) identifying how best to work with the ABIM on continued changes going forward, and 2) exploring alternatives to ABIM MOC certification, respectively. Members of both task forces have worked tirelessly to determine the best courses of action for the College and should be commended for their due diligence and thoughtful recommendations.

Coming out of the meeting, the BOT approved the following five actions:

  • ACC Immediate Past President Patrick T. O’Gara, MD, MACC, and ACC Executive Vice President for Science, Quality and Education William J. Oetgen, MD, MBA, FACC, were appointed as liaisons for continued communications with ABIM.
  • The ACC will work with ABIM to develop a new externally validated process for maintenance of competence to replace the 10-year exam.
  • The ACC will work with ABIM to research best practices for maintenance and demonstration of competence with eventual linkages to patient outcomes, cost and cost-effectiveness.
  • The ACC will support efforts to integrate federally mandated elements related to Part IV and patient experience into existing hospital and practice programs.
  • The ACC will continue its work toward an alternative board pending ongoing discussions with ABIM.

Work towards these goals will begin immediately. As always, the ACC’s commitment to its members and their patients remains steadfast. Advocating for our members to assist them in the provision of professional, knowledgeable and compassionate care, coupled with demonstration of ongoing competence, will continue to guide our actions and move us forward.

View previous MOC blogs here. Visit the ACC’s MOC Information Hub at

One thought on “ACC Board Issues Guidance on Next Steps in MOC Effort

  1. The fundamental change in Board Certification that must be addressed is that Board Certification has morphed from being an optional mark of excellence to a required certificate of minimum competency.

    Physicians are not in control of this change, but must react to this change.

    The change physicians are in control of is to change the requirements for Board Certification from excellence to adequacy.

    An analogous situation would be testing for driving licenses: driver education courses are designed to teach basic driving skills with exposure to advanced driving skills, but the advanced driving skills are not tested formally; formal driving tests (both written and driving) are not designed for race car drivers, but for 16 year old high school students.

    Unfortunately, physicians must make the same changes to the Board Certification system.

    Perhaps what physicians have traditionally called Board Certification should morph into a “Master of [fill in the medical specialty]” to provide an optional mark of excellence (until a Master of __ is then treated as a sign of minimum competency).

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