Maintenance of Certification (MOC) or continuing certification is defined by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), who is the leading organization for physician board certification, as "the ongoing process of board certification that simultaneously supports physicians in keeping their knowledge and skills current while validating their increasing expertise in a specialty."
Through board certification, ABMS helps physicians demonstrate their competence and professionalism, support organizations in achieving their quality improvement and safety goals and offer assurance to the public that they are being cared for by specialists committed to their health and well-being.
The ABMS MOC process or framework is comprised of four parts, with each ABMS Member Board having its own specific requirements for each part, along with options for meeting them and the timeframes within which they must be met in order for credit to be earned.
The ABMS Portfolio Program focuses on the following part of the framework:
MOC PART 4: IMPROVEMENTS IN MEDICAL PRACTICE Engage in ongoing assessment and quality/process improvement activities to improve patient outcomes. To earn credit/points, physicians/PAs are required to demonstrate competence in systematic measurement and improvement in patient care.
The BCM MOC Program serves as an institutional resource to assist eligible physicians and physician assistants (PA) earn continuing certification (MOC Part 4 credit/points from participating ABMS Member Boards or NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit* from the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants) for their meaningful participation in qualified QI activities/projects.
The ABMS Portfolio Program operates through a network of recognized Program Sponsors (such as BCM). Each Program Sponsor is tasked with assisting their respective physicians and physician assistants (PA) earn credit for their QI work.
As such, the BCM MOC Program was created to:
manage and coordinate the responsibilities and essential tasks required of the Program Sponsor, AND to
assist physicians/PAs with navigating and meeting the standards, guidelines, and requirements for earning MOC Part 4 or NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit.
Credit is approved and awarded directly by the physician/PA participant's relevant ABMS Member Board(s) or the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA).
Through the BCM MOC Program, physicians and PAs are able to:
work on improvement needs identified by and relevant to physicians/PAs and their patients;
engage in cross-specialty collaborations to align, facilitate, and expedite improvements that enhance care and patient experience;
connect with other participating physicians/PAs to learn from and share best practices; and
receive help with project documentation and reporting required for earning MOC Part 4 credit/points or NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit.
*Note: The ABMS Portfolio Program has an "interprofessional collaborative agreement" with the NCCPA. Under this agreement, eligible physician assistants, who are participating with physicians on team-based inter-professional improvement activities, can earn NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit through the BCM MOC Program for their engagement in qualified QI activities.
In order to submit a request for credit consideration, physicians/physician assistants (PA) must meet the Submission Eligibility criteria described below, as well as any other requirements specific to the respective QI Effort Type through which they are seeking credit. Further, any additional guidelines (see Tables 1 and 2) that may be required by their relevant crediting body(ies) also must be met accordingly.
SUBMISSION ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA
You must be a physician or physician assistant, who is certified by a participating ABMS Member Board or the NCCPA.
The Project Lead of the noted QI activity must be a current BCM or BCM-affiliated employee.
must include the completion of at least one (1) full Plan-Do-Study-Act (PDSA) cycle (not including baseline data collection)1,
must not be one that has been submitted previously for credit, and it
must be funded in compliance with ABMS Portfolio Program requirements regarding industry/commercial support2.
Note: If you are a physician assistant, the QI activity also must be conducted at BCM or a BCM-affiliated institution, AND it must be team-based, reflecting an inter-professional project team that includes collaboration with one or more participating physician team members.
1Some participating ABMS Member Boards and the NCCPA may require the completion of more than one improvement cycle. Refer to stated credit translations and requirements (see Tables 1 and 2) for more information regarding project and/or participation standards relevant to your respective certifying body(ies).
2Any commercially supported QI efforts/activities or education-related interventions (that offer AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™) are deemed acceptable IF compliant with ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education (effective 01/01/2022), which replaced the former ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. As such and for those physicians/PAs seeking MOC Part 4/NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit and to which this applies, the physician/PA is responsible for contacting the BCM MOC Program to discuss their intended QI effort in ensuring their understanding of and compliance with current ACCME standards, as well as for including all related and required documentation in this regard (per ACCME standards) when submitting QI activity/project information to the BCM MOC Program for their attention and processing for credit consideration.
If approved, credit is issued by the relevant ABMS Member Board or the NCCPA. As such, physicians/physician assistants (PA) should expect to see their MOC Part 4 or NCCPA Category 1 PI-CME credit issued directly to their respective Member Board or NCCPA profiles.
Table 1. Requirements and Credit Translation for Continuing Certification (per ABMS Member Board and NCCPA)
Table 2. Additional Diplomate Requirements (per applicable ABMS Member Board)
At this time, there is no cost to earn credit through the BCM MOC Program.
However, any applicable fees or relevant member dues required by the participating ABMS Member Boards or the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) must be current for an eligible physician or PA to receive credit. Physicians/PAs should contact their certifying bodies directly with any questions in this regard.
The BCM MOC Program offers several pathways (referred to as QI Effort Types) for physicians and physician assistants (PA) to earn credit (MOC Part 4 or Category 1 NCCPA PI-CME) for their meaningful participation in qualified QI activities.
When submitting requests for credit consideration, time is of the essence. As such, physicians/PAs are responsible for ensuring they meet BCM MOC Program participation submission requirements and associated deadlines for the respective QI Effort Type through which they are seeking credit.