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October 13, 2017

ABMS Launches New Initiative: Continuing Board Certification


The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its twenty-four Member Boards have launched a major initiative, "Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future" (Commission). A collaborative process, the Commission will bring together multiple partners to vision a system of continuing board certification that is meaningful, relevant and of value, while remaining responsive to the patients, hospitals and others who expect that physician specialists are maintaining their knowledge and skills to provide quality specialty care.

The Planning Committee to establish the Commission will include representatives from: ABMS, Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, the Coalition for Physician Accountability, Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS), and Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association, as well as public members.  The Planning Committee will identify the membership of a 21-25 member Commission, identify key questions for consideration by the Commission, and oversee a national opinion survey. The Commission construct and process will be designed to engage physicians, the public, users of the credential, and other stakeholders in a collaborative, transparent, and inclusive process that is rigorous, high quality, and quick.

The Commission framework includes three phases, beginning with a comprehensive assessment of the current continuing board certification system. Feedback will be obtained from varied stakeholders through multiple methods including a national survey. The information obtained will be used by the Planning Committee and Commission to identify the key questions emerging from the initial research phase. The Commission will hold hearings, provide information publicly, and test and seek feedback on concepts and ideas during the process. The Commission's final recommendations will be submitted to ABMS and its Member Boards for consideration and implementation. It is estimated the Commission process will take approximately twelve to fifteen months.

"The CMSS is pleased to serve on the Planning Committee and have the opportunity to represent the specialty society community," stated Norman B. Kahn, Jr., CMSS Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer. "This is a bold and exciting initiative on the part of ABMS. The inclusiveness of this process will help to ensure that the future enhancements and improvements to the continuing board certification process will be based on input from a broad set of constituencies."

"Patients, families, and others who rely upon the credential trust that Board Certified physicians have the knowledge and skills necessary to practice specialty medicine," said ABMS Board of Directors Chair, John C. Moorhead, MD. "Our system of professional self-regulation includes a process of meaningful continuing certification. The work of the Planning Committee and Commission will help ABMS ensure a continuing board certification program that remains relevant and meaningful to physicians and the patients they serve well into the next decade."

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