In This Issue

msppABMS Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program Continues to Grow
New Sponsors Include ABOG, ACC, AHA

The  ABMS Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program  (Portfolio Program™) continues to experience substantial growth . The Portfolio Program offers health care organizations the opportunity to support and encourage physician involvement in their quality and performance improvement initiatives while simultaneously facilitating credit for the American Board of Medical Specialties Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®) to physicians actively participating in those initiatives.
Overall, the number of sponsors grew 31 percent last year; from 61 to  8 0. As of the first quarter of 2017, there were 85 sponsors. Hospitals, integrated delivery systems, academic medical centers, interstate collaboratives, specialty societies, and state medical societies are among the growing number of sponsors . Recent additions, including the American Hospital Association, American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, American College of Cardiology , American Heart Association-The Guideline Advantage program, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's EvidenceNOW Program, reach physicians across many different systems. 
practiceABMS Announces New Focused Practice Designation
Approves Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) approved the establishment of a new Focused Practice designation at its March 2017 Board of Directors meeting. Focused Practice recognizes areas of practice that either evolve as physicians and specialists progress throughout their professional careers or emerge as medicine changes due to advances in medical knowledge. The American Board of Internal Medicine and American Board of Family Medicine have been offering a Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine pilot, which subsequently became the first Focused Practice designation approved by the ABMS Board of Directors.
"ABMS and its Member Boards understand that over time, many physicians develop extensive experience in a focused area of their actual specialty or subspecialty," stated ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer Lois Margaret Nora, MD, JD, MBA. "Focused Practice will enable Member Boards to recognize areas of specific expertise of their diplomates and allow those physicians to concentrate their continuing certification efforts in the very area on which much of their professional practice is based."
conferenceRegistration Now Open for ABMS Conference 2017

Registration for
ABMS Conference 2017 , to be held Sept. 25-27 in Chicago, is now open. This multi-track conference offers more than 50 sessions on Board Certification topics including learning and assessment, public policy and communications, patient safety, and research. New in 2017, the conference incorporates the ABMS QI Forum covering a range of quality improvement subjects.
ABMS Conference 2017 will attract more than 400 health care professionals and leaders from ABMS Member Boards, hospitals and health systems, academic medical centers, specialty societies, and continuing medical education and continuing professional development communities. A Poster Session & Exhibitor Reception will be held Sept. 25.
Register now  to receive an early bird rate of $595 (discounted from the regular registration rate of $695). The early bird rate is available through July 31.
Call for Posters - Share your late-breaking research and evidence-based practices by  submitting a poster. The Call for Posters will close at 12:00 am ET on June 30. All authors will be notified of acceptance via email on or before August 18.
toolBuilding a New Generation Committed to Quality Care: The Value of the Portfolio Program as a Professional Development and Educational Tool

By Rani S. Gereige, MD, MPH, FAAP, Director of Medical Education, Designated Institutional Official, Miami Children's Health System/Nicklaus Children's Hospital, Department of Medical Education; Clinical Professor, Department of Pediatrics, Florida International University, Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine

Quality Improvement (QI) activities allow the implementation of small, repeated, systematic changes aimed at improving patient care quality, safety, and outcomes. The design, planning, and implementation of QI initiatives by physicians leading to Improvement in Medical Practice (Part IV) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) credit are essential to the formative growth of medical professionals who can critically assess system errors, systematically study the contributing factors, and creatively design and implement solutions that result in higher quality, safer, and evidence-based care.
The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) Next Accreditation System requirements stipulate that sponsoring institutions and residency and fellowship training programs must provide education about the basics of QI using various methodologies (including Plan-Do-Study-Act, Lean Six Sigma, etc.) to physicians in training (residents and fellows). In addition, all residents and fellows must complete a mentored QI initiative during their training period and be able to demonstrate the related skills specified in the ACGME milestones under the "Practice-Based Learning and Improvement Competency."
The certifying boards currently allow residents and fellows to "bank" MOC Part IV credits for approved QI efforts conducted during their training. This opens up an added value for Portfolio Program sponsor institutions to participate in the QI training of faculty and trainees. 
StateState Legislation Puts Patients at Risk

Since January, 18 states have considered bills that would prohibit hospitals, medical groups, health plans, state licensing boards, and in some cases malpractice carriers, from using the American Board of Medical Specialties Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®) as a criterion for decisions about credentialing, employment, licensure, and reimbursement. Over time, this c ould increase the potential for patients and their families to receive substandard specialty care either by reducing access to Board Certified specialists or lowering the standards for specialty practice.
Amended bills in Florida and Texas sought to go even further, creating new regulatory regimes that would have required certifying agencies offering recertifying programs to register with the state, and would have prohibited them from requiring physicians to complete an external assessment as a condition of recertification. The proposed bills would have established continuing medical education as the standard for maintaining a certificate. In order to qualify for recognition by the state, ABMS Member Boards would have been forced to lower their program standards so that ABMS Board Certified physicians participating in MOC in those states could identify themselves as "Board Certified."
These bills set a dangerous precedent by allowing states to interfere with the current system of physician professional self-regulation, and dictate to independent organizations which quality standards they may use. Further, they represent a public policy that deprives Board Certification of its core value: an external assessment demonstrating to the public that physicians meet a national standard of knowledge and clinical skills to practice in a specialty. 
increaseIncreasing the Number and Practice Relevance of MOC Activities

Physicians are expected to par­ticipate in educational and self-assessment activities related to their specialty in order to maintain Board Certification.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 Member Boards, as well as many specialty societies, academic medical centers, and other continuing medical education (CME) stakeholders have taken several steps to help Board Certified physicians find quality accredited CME activities linked to components of the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®) and simplify the approval process for CME providers.
In 2015, ABMS developed an online repository of MOC activities - the ABMS MOC Directory . The CME activities indexed in the MOC Directory have been approved by Member Boards to meet the Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment requirements of the MOC program.
guideUpdated ABMS Guide to Medical Specialties Now Available

An updated online version of the
ABMS Guide to Medical Specialties is now available on the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) website. The guide offers information about ABMS, including Board Certification and Maintenance of Certification. It provides standard descriptions of the 37 specialties and 86 subspecialties offered by the 24 ABMS Member Boards referenced by organizations nationwide. Contact information puts readers in touch with specific Member Boards to learn about their respective certification requirements and processes.

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