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ABR Explains Changes to Certification Process


CHICAGO - The American Board of Radiology has made major changes to the core exam and maintenance of certification. Here’s what you need to know.

CHICAGO - In a year of transition for the healthcare system, the American Board of Radiology is responding with transformations that include changes to the core exam and maintenance of certification.

Dennis Balfe, MD, board member from St. Louis, reported that the new core exam (the first of a two-part process of certification) was given to 1,206 people from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4. The last oral exams were given in June of this year.

Surveys went out to those who took the new test, and comments included:

  • 51 percent said the exam was more difficult than expected and that it was harder than the online practice plan.
  • Almost everyone said there was plenty of time to finish the test.
  • Cardiac, neuro, and musculoskeletal were perceived to be the most difficult organ-based categories.

Scoring is still unofficial, Balfe said, but pass rate was very close to expected from traditional performances.

Changes to MOC, continuous certification

Milton Guiberteau, MD, president-elect of ABR from Houston, explained the transition to continuous certification, which began in January of this year. Before that time, radiologists had transitioned from being certified once with no other responsibilities to the ABR to a system under which recertification happened every 10 years. That’s still the case, but different people have been on different cycles.

“Our purpose here with continuous certification is to get everyone in MOC on the same page in terms of requirements,” Guiberteau said.

Why the change? This allows for a more continuous process. It provides an annual credential of your performance for external requirements and an up-to-date reporting of your MOC status, he said.

“Continuous certification is not a new MOC or an MOC replacement. It does not change the four-part MOC structure you’re familiar with,” he added.

Guiberteau answered some of the questions ABR most often gets:

How does continuous certification affect my existing certificate that has an end date?

“If you have an end date, you will receive a new certificate if you are meeting the requirements of MOC at the end of the current end date of that certificate. The new certificate will be valid contingent on your ability” to meet MOC requirements.

If you don’t have an end date and you present it to someone, how do they know it’s valid?

This is accomplished through public reporting of MOC status online, which the ABR began in March 2013.

What happens if you don’t meet the requirements of MOC?

You have one year to make up the deficiencies. During that time you will be listed as certified but not meeting the MOC requirements. If you do not meet them after a year, you will be listed as not certified.         

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