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ABMS Approves New Standards for Physician Certification Program With Goal of Improving Quality of Care
[February 04, 2014]

ABMS Approves New Standards for Physician Certification Program With Goal of Improving Quality of Care

CHICAGO --(Business Wire)--

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 Standards for the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (Program for 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 Thoas 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. To review research on the benefits of Board Certification and MOC, visit

About ABMS For 80 years, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has been a leading not-for-profit organization overseeing physician certification in the United States. It assists its 24 Member Boards in their efforts to develop and implement educational and professional standards for the evaluation, assessment and certification of physician specialists. ABMS Member Boards provide physician certification information to ABMS for its certification verification service programs. The ABMS Maintenance of Certification® program (ABMS MOC®), currently engages more than 450,000 physicians in MOC activities, is an evolution of ABMS Member Board Certification. ABMS is recognized by the key health care credentialing accreditation entities as a primary equivalent source of Board Certification data for medical specialists. Patients can find out for free if their physician is ABMS Member Board Certified by visiting or calling toll-free 1-866-ASK-ABMS. For more information about ABMS, visit or call (312) 436-2600.

The 24 Member Boards that comprise the ABMS Member Boards Community and certify more than 800,000 physicians include the American Board of Allergy and Immunology, American Board of Anesthesiology, American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery, American Board of Dermatology, American Board of Emergency Medicine, American Board of Family Medicine, American Board of Internal Medicine, American Board of Medical Genetics, American Board of Neurological Surgery, American Board of Nuclear Medicine, American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology, American Board of Ophthalmology, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, American Board of Otolaryngology, American Board of Pathology, American Board of Pediatrics, American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, American Board of Plastic Surgery, American Board of Preventive Medicine, American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, American Board of Radiology, American Board of Surgery, American Board of Thoracic Surgery and American Board of Urology.

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