EM Leaders Discuss ABEM’s Maintenance of Certification Program


In late December, the American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) sent out letters to its diplomates outlining the process for Part 4 of its Maintenance of Certification program.

ACEP does not set the requirements or mandate the process of continuous certification. However, because many ACEP members expressed confusion about the ABEM letter, ACEP leaders wanted to try to help clarify the process for its members.

ACEP President-Elect Sandy Schneider, MD, had a conversation with ABEM President Debra Perina, MD, for ACEP News to pose some FAQs, get ideas on how to meet the patient communication portion, and clarify what qualifies as a quality assurance project.

Here are a few snippets:

SS: Can you break this down so we can understand exactly what is going to happen? I see there are two parts. Start with the patient communication survey.

DP: The Communications Professional Activity must be conducted one time in your 10-year cycle, which starts at the point when you are certified or re-certified. At one time during that 10-year cycle, each physician must complete an activity related to communication and professionalism. There are multiple ways you can meet that requirement …

SS: Let’s talk about Quality Assurance.

DP: The Patient Care Practice Improvement Activity is a four-step process that you have to complete twice during your 10-year cycle. You collect data that reflects what you are doing with your patients now. Then you compare that data to evidence-based guidelines … A perfect example is the ubiquitous aspirin in suspected STEMI. You want to give aspirin to those patients 100% of the time. We know many hospitals are looking at this initiative and giving feedback on patients that should have received aspirin … This is one very clear example of a qualifying activity that physicians are already doing …

SS: I believe one of the biggest reasons for the reaction to the new requirement is simply that it is new …

DP: We believe most individuals are already engaged in most of the activities that are being required. We are just trying to create a system that makes it as painless as possible to report what folks are already doing.

Read the entire ACEP News article online.

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