ABMS contemplating how to fit CME for MOC into the accreditation system

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Sheesh, I go away for a little sailing trip to the British Virgin Islands (it was wonderful--thanks for asking!), and I come back to this interesting post on the Policy and Medicine blog about the American Board of Medical Specialties' white paper exploring the idea of asking its members to institute separate accreditation systems for continuing medical education that relates to maintenance of certification. on CME for maintenance of certification.

I haven't read through it in any great detail yet, but on first glance, I have to agree with Tom Sullivan that it seems unnecessary at best, that all this is already covered by the Accreditation Council for CME -- that is, after all, its job. I'm trying to imagine a world in which we have 24 additional accreditation systems to manage, in addition to ACCME's. And do we really need to continue trotting out the old "we must get rid of commercial support" mantra every time CME is mentioned? I guess so, since here we go again. I'll need to spend some more time with this once I get my land legs back to better understand the rationale behind the white paper's proposals.

For those of you who have already taken a look at this--what do you think? ABMS wants to know, so send in your comments to ABMS_MOC_Support_Program@abms.org (and if you wouldn't mind copying me, I'd love to know what you think as well.)

Update: On further reading and contemplation, I think I misunderstood what the whole white paper was about -- which seems to be more how to accommodate what's needed for CME for MOC into how we're currently doing things, not thinking about creating a whole new layer of accreditation (hence all the strikeouts, and the modification of the head for this posting).

While it's certainly open to interpretation (see Lew Miller's ideas on how to clarify the language), I like how George Mejicano, MD, the Alliance for CME's president, put it in this response: "From what I understand, ABMS is interested in exploring a process to work through the various issues and solutions, and clarity regarding many unresolved issues will become evident over time. For now, the White Paper does not represent policy or standards but is a place to start thinking about the issues related to CME/CPD and its role in MOC." (He also lays out some of those issues in a pretty useful way.)

This is another good summary, in an article I wish I had time to write last week: "ABMS's certifying boards lack a general understanding of all the requirements of CME, explained Dr. Nancy Davis, an expert in MOC CME invited by ABMS to contribute to discussions, 'so the whole purpose…is to help [ABMS], not create new requirements and accreditation systems, [but] in fact to help them understand how the system we have can support MOC.'”

There's also a great conversation about this happening on the CME LinkedIn group that I highly recommend you check out. Interestingly, one person thinks that it may be more of a threat to the AMA PRA credit system than to the current accreditation system. Hmm.

I'll be writing something about this for our next issue, so if you have any thoughts you'd be willing to share, please let me know.

Note to self: Hold off on commenting on anything you read within 24 hours of coming back from vacation!

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