Specialty boards launch initiative to change recertification process
The American Board of Medical Specialties and its 24 member organizations are collaborating to re-evaluate how physicians are certified for continued practice.
The effort to revamp the recertification process—dubbed Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future—comes amid controversy over specialty boards and their practices. To maintain certification, doctors must complete a maintenance-of-certification program, which is a continuous training and self-assessment process that replaced periodic physician testing.
The American Medical Association has long argued that the ABMS’ maintenance-of-certification program has little value. There have also been concerns that specialty societies are more generators of revenue than helpful to doctors. A recent JAMA study found fees collected by specialty boards for certification examinations made up 88% of board revenue in 2013, yet test administration accounted for only 21% of spending.
Although board certification isn't a requirement to practice medicine, most hospitals seek only board-certified physicians. More than 800,000 physicians in the U.S. are certified by one of the American Board of Medical Specialties’ 24 member boards.
“I think our boards want to be responsive to the stresses physicians are under and that has been one of the big reasons boards have been transforming their assessment processes,” said Dr. Lois Margaret Nora, president and CEO of the American Board of Medical Specialties.
A commission with at least 21 stakeholders will be established in the next few months to lead the initiative.