Cardiovascular Societies Seek A Board of Their Own

After months of growing cardiologist backlash against the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification program, four leading cardiovascular societies collectively announced plans to create a new cardiology board to replace it. 

The consortium initially includes the ACC, HRS, HFSA, and SCAI (others including the AHA are evaluating), who will apply for permission to create a new independent board for cardiovascular medicine. 

Although details are limited, the proposed CV board will reportedly …

  • Follow a new “competency-based approach to continuous certification” 
  • De-emphasize timed, high stakes performance exams
  • Focus on learning assessments to identify knowledge/skill gaps, and then make CME learning recommendations to help close those gaps
  • Be developed and overseen by cardiovascular physicians

So how did the ABIM get to the brink of losing cardiology? Gradually, then suddenly…

  • Some vocal cardiologists have pushed back against ABIM MOCs for years
  • More cardiologists started calling for a change in April when the ABIM began listing cardiologists as “not certified” if they hadn’t paid their MOC fees, even if they did pay for and passed their certification exams
  • The heat intensified in July with a petition to eliminate the ABIM MOC (now at >20k votes), followed by a hard-hitting Dr. Glaucomflecken video (now at 269k views), and some serious online outrage after an ABIM tweet seemed to encourage testing while on vacation
  • The ABIM backlash became more formal in August when cardiology societies started calling for an end to its MOC process

It seems like there’s never been a better time to launch a cardiologist-led alternative to the ABIM MOCs, but it’s not that straightforward. 

  • The consortium’s ABMS application process should take a few months, and then several additional months to launch its programs.
  • Plus, many folks on CardioTwitter don’t seem ready to welcome the new board. Some are holding off until they see more details, some question the societies’ motives, and others are asking why they don’t just follow state license rules or support the National Board of Physicians and Surgeons.

The Takeaway
It would be hard to find a cardiologist who wants to stick with the ABIM or its MOC process, and most see a benefit in a cardiologist-led CV board, but the societies still have a lot to prove before cardiologists also view it as “a board of [their] own.”

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