Frequently Asked Questions

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Answers to Frequently Asked Questions are listed below.

What is Maintenance of Certification (MOC)?

What is Maintenance of Certification (MOC)?

The 24 American Board of Medical Specialty (ABMS) boards, under guidance of the ABMS, have each implemented an MOC process to help ensure physicians keep current in their specialties. This four-part MOC process involves continuous assessment of six physician core competencies and the integration of evidence-based medicine, national standards, and best practices.

The MOC programs of all 24 specialty boards have the same four general requirements:

  • Part I: Professionalism and Professional Standing
    (to include holding a valid, unrestricted medical license)

  • Part II: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment
    (educational activities, including self-assessment of knowledge)

  • Part III: Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment, and Skills
    (primarily re-certification exam)

  • Part I: Improvement in Medical Practice
    (participate in assessing and improving health care)

For general information on the standards guiding the MOC process, visit the ABMS website: http://www.abms.org/Maintenance_of_Certification.

Do all specialty boards have the same MOC requirements?

Do all specialty boards have the same MOC requirements?

No, specific requirements of individual boards do vary.  Within this four-part framework each specialty board has developed its own specific requirements, options for meeting them, and timeframes in which they must be met.  ABMS maintains an overview of the Part II (Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment) and Part IV (Improvement in Medical Practice) requirements of each member Board. To view the overview, go to http://www.abms.org/board-certification/steps-toward-initial-certification-and-moc/ and under "Maintenance of Certification" click on the "Part II" and "Part IV" links.  That site contains links to the websites of each specific ABMS Member Board and the details of its MOC requirements.

Individual boards continue to evolve their requirements.  Therefore, physicians starting the recertification process in a specialty in one year may have specific requirements that differ from requirements applying to physicians starting the recertification process in earlier or subsequent years.  Also, physicians starting a new recertification cycle are likely to find that their specialty board’s requirements have changed somewhat from the previous cycle.  Physicians participating in a specialty board’s MOC program can check the requirements that currently apply to them by logging onto their personal account on the website of their specialty board. 

For information from your specific medical board, follow this link to find your board's website: http://www.abms.org/member-boards/contact-an-abms-member-board/.

I understand that some individuals have been ‘grandfathered in’ to their Board’s MOC requirements. Is that true?

I understand that some individuals have been ‘grandfathered in’ to their Board’s MOC requirements. Is that true?

Historically, most boards provided one-time, ‘life-long’ certification.  In the year 2000, with the practice of medicine evolving rapidly, the 24 medical specialty boards agreed to move toward issuing time-limited certification which requires that physicians periodically demonstrate their ability to meet specific requirements to recertify for an additional time period.  Newly certified physicians automatically enter their specialty’s Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program.  Some “lifetime” certified physicians are voluntarily participating in the MOC program as a means to stay current with the new requirements and demonstrate their proficiency in their specialty.

What are my board's requirements for MOC Part IV?

What are my board's requirements for MOC Part IV?

Each board outlines their MOC requirements on their website. As a board certified physician, it is your responsibility to understand what your board requires of you and track your personal progress through your individual MOC accreditation cycle. The department liaisons and/or M Health Portfolio Program staff (listed on the Contact Us page) are happy to answer questions you may have or put you in touch with resources related to your board’s specific certification requirements.

Why did the University of Minnesota apply to become a MultiSpecialty MOC Portfolio Program Sponsor?

Why did the University of Minnesota apply to become a MultiSpecialty MOC Portfolio Program Sponsor?

By becoming a Portfolio Program Sponsor, an organization can help its physicians fulfill ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®) Improvement in Medical Practice (Part IV) requirements through quality, performance, and process improvement initiatives (QI/PI) that can also drive internal best practices for patient care and organizational operations. The University of Minnesota wanted to offer its providers an opportunity to get credit for the QI work they complete on-the-job.

What does being an approved portfolio sponsor mean?

What does being an approved portfolio sponsor mean?

As an MOC Portfolio Sponsor, UM Health has the ability to grant MOC Part IV credit for approved QI/PI projects.  That means certain UM Health providers and care team members will be able to apply credit to their certifying board for participating in select UM Health Quality Improvement (QI) efforts that meet standards set forth by the MOC Portfolio Program.

What are the benefits of the MOC Portfolio Program?

What are the benefits of the MOC Portfolio Program?

As a physician:

  • The MOC Portfolio Program provides a stream-lined process to fulfill MOC Part IV requirements for well-designed QI efforts that meet Portfolio criteria.
  • You can work together with colleagues on improving care for a population of patients (within and between clinical departments).

As an organization:

  • UM Health has the authority to approve internal QI efforts for MOC Part IV from participating boards (see list below).
  • UM Health can encourage physicians to work on improvement goals that are of high strategic priority.
  • UM Health can learn about and disseminate best practices and innovations in care when physicians participate in improvement projects.
Portfolio Participating Boards – 21 of 24 Boards participate, as of January, 2016:
  • Allergy & Immunology 
  • Anesthesiology
  • Dermatology
  • Emergency Medicine 
  • Family Medicine 
  • Internal Medicine 
  • Medical Genetics & Genomics
  • Obstetrics & Gynecology 
  • Ophthalmology
  • Otolaryngology 
  • Orthopaedic Surgery
  • Pathology
  • Pediatrics 
  • Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation 
  • Preventive Medicine 
  • Psychiatry & Neurology
  • Plastic Surgery
  • Radiology
  • Surgery 
  • Thoracic Surgery
  • Urology

What if my specialty board is not a participant in the national Multi-Specialty MOC Portfolio Program?

What if my specialty board is not a participant in the national Multi-Specialty MOC Portfolio Program?

At this point, 21 of the 24 specialty boards do participate in the national Multi-Specialty Portfolio Approval Program. However, we are not able to provide reviews of projects for those few specialty boards that do not participate in the program. If a specialty board is not currently a participant, physicians should check back periodically for updates and follow the guidance from their specialty board in the interim.

Is it true that the M Health Portfolio Program focuses only on MOC Part IV?

Is it true that the M Health Portfolio Program focuses only on MOC Part IV?

If you are certified by one of the boards participating in the Multispecialty MOC Portfolio Program, you can receive MOC Part IV credit from your board through meaningful participation in Quality Improvement (QI) projects that have been approved by the M Health MOC Review Board. For individual providers, this means the QI work you complete on-the-job can meet MOC requirements saving valuable time

How will UM Health ensure the internal QI projects meet the standards set for MOC Portfolio Program Sponsors?

How will UM Health ensure the internal QI projects meet the standards set for MOC Portfolio Program Sponsors?

As an MOC Portfolio Program Sponsor, UM Health has created an internal M Health MOC Review Board (MMRB), an administrative team which includes representatives from Quality Improvement, Performance Improvement, and the Office of Continuing Professional Development. This group meets monthly to establish and assure internal processes are in place to meet the MOC standards. The MMRB is responsible for establishing and reinforcing program policies, reviewing project applications, determining credit eligibility, and reporting updates through the American Board of Medical Specialty (ABMS) MOC Activity Manager.

Why should I use the M Health MOC Program for my MOC Part IV credit requirements?

Why should I use the M Health MOC Program for my MOC Part IV credit requirements?

The M Health MOC Portfolio Program was created to give physicians an institutional resource to meet their MOC requirements. This enables you to efficiently pursue relevant QI projects which means your daily work aligns with the steps necessary to meet your MOC improvement in practice (Part IV) requirements.  In this manner, it spares you the administrative burden you would otherwise face working directly with your specialty board to complete projects that are considered less relevant to your practice.

The M Health MOC Portfolio Program provides resources for questions about MOC as well as guidance on selecting, developing, and implementing QI efforts.

My QI project is already completed, can I still apply for MOC Part IV credit through the M Health MOC Program?

My QI project is already completed, can I still apply for MOC Part IV credit through the M Health MOC Program?

​Ideally, you would confirm eligibility in advance of starting up a QI project. However, if a QI project was active in April 2015 or beyond (the point at which the M Health MOC Program was approved as a Portfolio Sponsor ) then it may qualify for MOC Part IV credit if all other Portfolio requirements are met.  Please contact the individuals listed as the Portfolio Program representatives (found on the Contact Us page) for questions regarding project eligibility.

Is MOC credit available for existing QI projects?

Is MOC credit available for existing QI projects?

Yes, if you meaningfully participate in a project that has been established by a colleague within the M Health system, you may be able to pursue credit for your involvement.  An example of the attestation which outlines what constitutes ‘meaningful participation’ can be found on the Template page of this site.  Please contact the individuals listed as the Portfolio Program representatives (found on the Contact Us page) for questions regarding individual eligibility.

Each QI project should have a defined project lead. What are the requirements of that individual?

Each QI project should have a defined project lead. What are the requirements of that individual?

The project lead serves as the liaison with the M Health Portfolio Program and their responsibilities include the following:

  • submit the MOC Part IV / QI Project Standard Application for QI Credit to the M Health MOC Portfolio Program;
  • respond to any questions or requests for clarification;
  • provide periodic updates to the M Health Portfolio Program staff regarding the progress of the QI effort;
  • monitor and verify physician participation for each member of the project team.

Contact MOC representatives to:

  • have a question answered
  • request an application
  • discuss a specific QI project

Please contact your departmental MOC represenative. All other departments without an identified representative should contact Andrea Barrett or Doug Zech.

Department of Pediatrics
Jordan Marmet, M.D.
MMRB Co-Chair
marme001@umn.edu    

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health
David Satin, M.D.
sati0003@umn.edu    

Department of Medicine
Tanya Melnik, M.D.
solov003@umn.edu    

All other departments, contact:
Andrea Barrett, MPH
Quality Coordinator
ahaugen10@umphysicians.umn.edu

Doug Zech
Performance Improvement staff representative
dzech1@fairview.org

For general MOC project inquiries email:
moc@umn.edu