American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has had a lot of, well, lets just say difficult press this year. There is one piece of news though that came out yesterday that should send a smile to any internal medicine physician practicing in the specialty of Hospice and Palliative Medicine and should resolve the debate that Alex Smith talked about one year ago in this GeriPal piece. What happened? ABIM announced that it will discontinue the requirement for maintaining underlying board certification (sorry Alex, I know you already paid)!
What does all this mean?
This means you will not have to take the re-certifying exam in Internal Medicine just so you can remain certified in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. While there are still some good reasons to re-certify in ones primary specialty like Internal Medicine (as summed in Alex's article), there are plenty of reasons not to. Just the cost alone is reason to celebrate as Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program fees for Internal Medicine is $1,940 on top of the $2,560 you have to pay for Hospice and Palliative Medicine.
Who should we thank?
Given the hardships that ABIM has been under of late, I for one will be sending a quick thank you to the ABIM and its CEO, Richard Barron. I'd also like to acknowledge the work that the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) staff and physician leaders (like Tara Friedman and Holly Yang) who have worked hard to advocate for this change and other workforce issues.
What about Family Medicine?
Sorry folks. One must maintain their primary certification by the ABFM to maintain certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine (or any CAQ like Geriatrics for that matter.) Word on the street is that this is unlikely to change.
by: Eric Widera (@ewidera)