ABIM extends MOC requirements deadline through 2022

March 8, 2021
Jeffrey Bendix, Senior Editor

Internists and internal medicine subspecialists will have an additional year to complete their maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements.

Internists and internal medicine subspecialists will have an additional year to complete their maintenance of certification (MOC) requirements due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), which oversees the MOC program, announced it is extending the 2020 and 2021 deadlines for all MOC assessment, points or attestation requirements through December 31, 2022. The extension was made “in recognition of the disruption and urgent clinical responsibilities our colleagues have lived through,” according to the letter containing the announcement. “This means that no one will lose certification if they aren’t able to complete any MOC requirement this year.”

However, ABIM will continue to offer certification exams in 2021 for physicians who want to take them. “There are some doctors who’ve already been preparing and wouldn’t necessarily want to postpone,” Board Chair Marianne M. Green told Medical Economics. “One of the advantages of this approach was to allow that level of flexibility and choice.”

Last April, at the start of the pandemic, ABIM extended the deadline for completing 2020 certification requirements to the end of 2021. Green said there was no debate over the question of whether to extend it again.

“The fact that many of us [ABIM board members] are practicing physicians and have felt the impact of COVID on our professional and personal lives made it a pretty straightforward decision. In time of national crisis like this there really was no other choice,” she said.

ABIM is still planning to launch its longitudinal knowledge assessment program for maintaining certification in January 2022. Doctors due for an assessment in 2020, 2021 or 2022 will be able to participate in longitudinal assessment when it reaches their specialty, according to the letter.

In addition, physicians in the sub-specialties most affected by COVID—critical care medicine, hospital medicine, infectious disease and pulmonary disease—can wait until 2023 to take an assessment, and can use either the current 10-year exam or the longitudinal assessment.

“The pandemic is a once-in-a-century event, and when we announced an extension of MOC requirements last year we all hoped it would be over by now,” the letter says. “But even as we’ve made significant progress toward that end, the fact remains it will be some time until we’re on the other side of this.”