In January 2010, APP, the fourth component of EMCC began for some diplomates who were able to attest to completion of their APP requirements by using EMCC Online.
On March 31, 2010, after almost 23 years of service to ABEM, Mary Ann Reinhart, Ph.D., retired her position as the second ABEM Executive Director. Through her creativity and leadership, ABEM continued to make seminal contributions to the continued development of the specialty.
On May 1, 2010, Earl J. Reisdorff, M.D., was selected as the new ABEM Executive Director. Dr. Reisdorff had been active with ABEM as an oral certification exanibation examiner since 1994, an item writer for the qualifying examination from 1999-2009, a Senior Case Reviewer for the oral certification examination, and participated as a member of the Case Development Panel.
Effective September 1, 2010, the AMA increased the number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ from 25 to 60 credits for successfully attaining board certification by passing the oral examination or successfully maintaining certification by passing the ConCertTM examination. Diplomates are given up to six years from the effective date on their certificate to apply for the credits.
On September 28, 2010, the ABMS, at its General Assembly meeting, approved EMS as its 112th subspecialty, making it the sixth subspecialty available to ABEM diplomates. An EMS Examination Task Force, composed of 12 EMS physicians, was appointed by ABEM and began working on the development of the EMS subspecialty examination in February 2011. The first examination is scheduled for the fall of 2013.
In 2011 ABEM introduced the next phase of EMCC by changing the requirements and frequency of the EMCC activities required to continue certification. These changes emphasized that all four components of EMCC have value in demonstrating an EM physician’s performance improvement. The changes will be phased in over the next several years.
On April 1, 2011, ABEM diplomates were able to apply for CME for completing the 2011 LLSA CME Activity. This opportunity was the result of an unprecedented collaboration between ABEM, ACEP, and AAEM. Diplomates can apply for the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for this activity through either AAEM or ACEP. A similar opportunity is also available with the 2012 LLSA CME Activity.
In May 2011, the bylaws were changed to create a new standing committee, the Finance Committee. The previous Executive Finance Committee was changed to the Executive Committee.
In July 2011, the BOD created the Communications Committee, which was charged in part with assisting the BOD to define how to maintain effective and efficient communications with internal and external audiences, and reviewing the efficacy and efficiency of communications efforts.
On September 21, 2011, at the General Assembly meeting of the ABMS, ABEM and ABIM co-sponsorship of the subspecialty of Internal Medicine-Critical Care Medicine (IM-CCM) was unanimously approved. Emergency physicians can now participate in Internal Medicine–sponsored Critical Care Medicine (CCM) fellowships and be eligible to seek board certification. IM-CCM became the seventh subspecialty certification available to ABEM diplomates.
In November and December 2011, an experimental pilot multiple choice question (MCQ) examination was administered to emergency physician volunteers at Pearson VUE testing centers. The purpose of this examination—which was the culmination of the work of the ICTF Task Force—was to explore the use of new stimulus types on ABEM examinations. A pilot oral examination was administered in June 2012.
In April 2012, the name of the EMCC program was changed to ABEM MOC. ABEM, along with the other 23 ABMS Member Boards, agreed to adopt common terminology that reflects the continuous nature of the program and clarifies that physicians certified in all specialties participate in the same type of certification process.
In April 2012, an application process for external organizations that wish to obtain ABEM pre-approval for APP activities was made available on the ABEM website. Once an activity is approved, ABEM diplomates can receive credit toward their ABEM MOC APP requirements for completing the activity. ABEM is encouraging the development of such activities in order to expand available options for ABEM diplomates.
In June 2012, ABEM was approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to participate in the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) MOC additional incentive program in 2012. ABEM diplomates who participated in the program received an additional 0.5% reimbursement on their Medicare billings if they met their basic PQRS reporting requirements. ABEM was approved to participate in the program again in 2013 and 2014.
In September 2012, the Emergency Medicine Milestones were approved. The EM Milestones are a matrix of the knowledge, skills, abilities, attitudes, and experiences that should be acquired at different points during EM training. The EM Milestones Project was a joint initiative of the ACGME and ABEM, and was supported by representatives of the Association of Academic Chairs of Emergency Medicine (AACEM), AAEM, ACEP, CORD, EMRA, RRC-EM, and SAEM.
Beginning in 2013, the ConCert™ examination was no longer the final step in renewing certification; the four parts of MOC became de-linked. Diplomates can therefore register for and take the ConCert™ examination in any of the last five years of certification, even if they have not completed all of their MOC requirements. However, at the end of a diplomate’s ten-year certification, any outstanding MOC requirements will result in loss of certification.
At its winter 2013 BOD retreat meeting, the ABEM BOD participated in a strategic planning session that led to a new mission statement for ABEM, “To ensure the highest standards in the specialty of Emergency Medicine.”
In May 2013, the Board of Directors of the ACGME approved allowing emergency physicians to formally enter Surgical Critical Care (SCC) fellowships, thus providing a pathway for EM diplomates to train for and take the SCC subspecialty certification examination. Certification in SCC is through the American Board of Surgery (ABS).
The first certification examination in EMS took place in October 2013. Because some physicians were unable to schedule to take the examination at an agreeable location or date, an additional administration was scheduled for March 2014. The first EMS LLSA reading list was posted in July 2013, and the first test was posted in June 2014.
The first certification examination in Clinical Informatics, which is open to diplomates of all ABMS Member Boards, took place in the fall of 2013, and 44 ABEM diplomates took the exam.
Subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine, which had been open to diplomates of any ABMS Member Board, will be soon available only to diplomates of a co-sponsoring board. In April, 2014, ABEM was approved by the ABMS to become a co-sponsor, thus allowing ABEM diplomates to continue to have access to the examination.
In spring 2014, ABEM launched a Patient Safety LLSA, jointly developed by ABEM and ACEP. The activity, which has an optional CME activity, will be required during the first five years of certification, counts toward the LLSA test requirement, and can be used toward fulfilling the Part II CME requirement, including the self-assessment credit requirement.
In September 2014, ABEM marked the 35th anniversary of Emergency Medicine’s recognition as a medical specialty.
In the fall of 2014, ABEM recognized physicians who had marked 30 or more years of being ABEM–board certified in Emergency Medicine with a special certificate. Over 950 diplomates had accomplished the milestone, and their names were included in the fall issue of the ABEM Memo, and posted on the ABEM website. Certificates will be awarded annually to diplomates who achieve the milestone.
In October 2014, ABEM convened a summit of representatives from AACEM, AAEM, AAEM Resident Student Association, ACEP, CORD, EMRA, RRC-EM, and SAEM to critically review the ABEM MOC Program. One purpose of the Summit was to provide current information about the ABEM MOC Program to the EM community, and solicit ways in which the program might be improved.
The EMS Task Force transitioned to the EMS Examination Committee and held its first meeting on November 18, 2014. The Committee is charged with writing the EMS Certification Examination and EMS LLSA tests, overseeing the EMS certification eligibility criteria, crafting the EMS MOC Program, and maintaining the Core Content of EMS Medicine.
2014 marked the third and final year of ABEM’s participation in the PQRS MOC additional incentive program. During the three-year period, ABEM diplomates made nearly 12,000 applications to the program, and received an estimated $3.8 million in additional Medicare reimbursements.
The Policy on Board Eligibility took effect on January 1, 2015. Physicians who had not achieved certification will be considered board eligible on that date or the date that they graduate from an ACGME-accredited EM program, and will remain board eligible for five years after that date whether or not they have applied for certification. Physicians who delay any certification activity have additional requirements (LLSA tests and CME) until they become board certified.
A new format integrating dynamic stimuli into the testing process was introduced in the November 2014 Qualifying Examination and the spring 2015 Oral Certification Examination. In addition, the examinations incorporated new specifications, grounded in the EM Model and a detailed description of what a board certified emergency physician knows and is able to do (their knowledge, skills, and abilities, or KSAs). The revised testing formats and specifications warranted reconsideration of the existing passing score criteria. After deliberation on several factors, the Board approved a new passing score of 76 on a scale of 0 to 100 for the Qualifying Examination. Following the spring administration, the Board determined the final passing score for the Oral Certification Examination to be 5.38. Both examinations continue to be criterion referenced.
During 2014-2015, ABEM endowed a fellowship within the Institute of Medicine (IOM). The ABEM Fellowship is a two-year fellowship that provides early-career, health-science scholars the opportunity to experience and participate in evidence-based health care or public health studies that affect the nation’s health.
In spring 2015, ABEM announced its entry into social media with pages on Facebook and LinkedIn. The pages are intended as yet another means to share recent news and important information with diplomates, residents, EM programs, and the public.
The following ABEM subspecialties were approved in the 2010s: Anesthesiology Critical Care Medicine, Emergency Medical Services, Internal Medicine-Critical Care Medicine, and Pain Medicine.