Fleming says that for internists, the need to maintain board certification is critical, more so than for many other specialties and it is becoming even more important for payment determination.
Proof of certification is often required by insurance groups to be considered a preferred provider, and it's increasingly tied to credentialing for staff privileges within healthcare systems.
"In some states, and more in the not too distant future, it's tied to licensure. There are huge stakes here" for doctors who can't meet criteria, Fleming says.
Why the MOC?
Before 1990, physicians who passed their board certification exams the first time were certified for life. Certification for most physicians had to be renewed with a passing grade on an exam every 10 years, starting in 1990. By 2001, however, it became increasingly important that besides the exam, internists had to have certain knowledge and skill, and training in an ongoing way.
The new requirements stem from years of discussion and a general acceptance that the old ways just weren't appropriate anymore.
"Our board realized that a lifetime credential is simply not credible, because we know over time physicians lose skills, and that knowledge changes," says ABIM President and CEO Richard Baron, MD.
It's important for older doctors too, he says, many of whom have been grandfathered under the old rules.