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"Transformation of ABIM and What the Changes Mean to Nephrologists" published in CJASN

January 31st 2018

VCKD member, Dr. Alp Ikizler and colleague Dr. Berns publication in CJASN discussing ABIM and what that means for future Nephrologists.


The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) has been certifying internists since 1936, and nephrologists since 1972. There are currently 10,043 ABIM board-certified nephrologists, about two thirds of whom also continue to maintain their certification in internal medicine. ABIM is one of 24 specialty boards that are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties, the organization that establishes common standards for board certification across disciplines. Until 1989, ABIM certification was valid indefinitely. Thus, once fulfilling all of the requirements of board certification, including passing the required examination, a physician needed to do nothing further to remain certified. In response to urging by physicians, medical specialty societies, and patient advocacy organizations, ABIM began granting only time-limited certificates in 1990. From that time on, ABIM diplomates were required to maintain their certification by passing another examination at least every 10 years. Over the years, additional requirements were added by ABIM for Maintenance of Certification (MOC).

In recent years, there has been increasing controversy regarding board certification, especially regarding the introduction of new MOC requirements in 2014. There have been calls to eliminate board certification entirely, legislative attacks on requirements by hospitals and insurance companies for board certification (1), and development of new boards that offer certification on the basis of only continuing medical education (CME) credits. Physicians are expressing frustration with a process some perceived as burdensome, costly, and irrelevant to their everyday practice.

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