by Steven E. Zimmet, MD, RVT, FACPh
All medical certifying boards have a common mission and purpose - to serve the public interest by promoting excellence in the practice of a given specialty. Certification of a physician specialist requires meeting licensing and training qualifications, documentation by testing that a physician has mastery of the basic knowledge and skills that define the area of medical specialization, and a commitment to lifelong learning and assessment.
The Phleb-MOC program, envisioned at the inception of the ABPh, will be an important part of meeting those requirements.
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) has stated “… ultimately, the measure of physician specialists is not merely that they have been certified, but how well they keep current in their specialty.” In 2000, the ABMS adopted the concept of Maintenance of Certification (MOC ), which requires physicians to demonstrate their participation in lifelong learning and ongoing practice improvement, reflecting the belief that a continuous evaluation and learning process is in the best interest of patient care and of physicians wishing to maintain currency and competency in their field.
The American Board of Phlebology (ABPh) has been committed to Maintenance of Certification from its inception, with program development naturally following development of the certification process. Part of the original established purpose of the ABPh included serving “the public and the medical profession by establishing initial and continuing qualifications for certification and maintenance of certification as physician specialists in the practice of phlebology.” The guiding principle of MOC is to foster excellence in patient care. Through the MOC program, board-certified phlebologists will advance the standard of the specialty.
The ABPh recognizes the critical issues of quality of care and patient safety, and the increasing importance of attention to quality in terms of public perception, reimbursement and governmental regulation. The goal of the Phleb-MOC program is to assure continued competence of board-certified physician phlebologists. Therefore, all those who wish to maintain certification in phlebology must fulfill the requirements of Phleb- MOC ’s four components during the course of the 10-year cycle.
While some programs will be available through the ABPh (the certification exam for example), other organizations (such as AC P, AV F, SIR , SVM and others) may choose to develop and present programs that meet the CME , self-assessment and evaluation of performance in practice components of the Phleb-MOC requirements. These organizations are distinct and separate organizations from ABPh, each with their own governing boards, structure and bylaws. The ABPh is committed to working with all interested organizations in developing these programs, which must be approved by ABPh.
The Phleb-MOC program, which will commence in 2012, will have four basic components, similar to requirements of ABMS specialty boards. While we are following ABMS guidelines for MOC , the ABPh board sets the specific requirements.
The ABPh is committed to making the program easy and simple to understand, track, and complete.
ABPh will be releasing details about the PHLEB-MOC program over the coming weeks via the ABPh website, and in the first issue-of the ABPh enewsletter. For more information, please visit www.americanboardofphlebology.org or contact ABPh headquarters at (703) 234-4077 or firstname.lastname@example.org.