Board Recertification

You Can Learn A Lot From Billing Data.

Because hospitalists lack a specialty code for billing (probably forthcoming), and we do not have formal board certification (I would bet it's in our future), anyone interested in identifying hospitalists beyond their hospital walls has a tough slog.  You can call several thousand hospitals and speak with the appropriate department and question; you can call every internist, pediatrician or family practitioner in the AMA database and ask them, "Are you a hospitalist?"; or you can find an alternate method---because the latter two will keep you busy until the next solar eclipse. Knowing adult inpatient practitioners bill just a small cluster of codes--observation, critical care, or inpatient--having access to a national database with physician billing data (Part B submissions) would provide a route to determine which docs practice in acute care settings.   (more…)

How Much Does the ABIM’s MOC Program Really Cost?

Our esteemed "The Hospital Leader" editor, newly minted Master in Hospital Medicine, and all-around big shot, Dr. Brad Flansbaum, and I are both recertifying for the ABIM Boards and we have both elected to take the Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine exam this year. As such, we are both very invested in the goings on in the ABIM, especially since they increased the requirements for recertification in 2014 and have slowly, kinda, sorta backtracked in the face of vigorous criticism. Every few weeks Flansbaum and I end up discussing the hot events around this topic, or more often our own tedious progress in studying for the exam. In our last conversation, Dr. Flansbaum pointed me to a recently published article from the Annals of Internal Medicine, “A Cost Analysis of the American Board of Internal Medicine’s Maintenance of Certification Program.” Now this is my kind of study—basically a back of the napkin exercise…

Keeping up with the ABIM

You can recall some of the famous apologies and non-apologies of the recent past. Bill—“Even presidents have private lives.”  Kanye—“It starts with this… I’m sorry, Taylor.”  And in early February, we added this one.  Rich- “We got it wrong. We are sorry.” Now don’t get me wrong, apologies are good and a necessary first step toward healing and returning to normalcy. Dr. Baron’s American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) apology seemed sincere even if it was only accompanied by minor changes in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process. That apology was of course in response to the groundswell of defiance that had been growing for the last year, mostly focusing on the increased requirements and fees that came about with the early 2014 changes to the ABIM MOC process that upped the number of “points” required, upped the fees, and dropped the reporting period to every two years from every…

“We got it wrong. We are sorry.”

I saw this in my inbox this week and immediately I thought it must be from Pete Carroll, coach of the Super Bowl losing Seattle Seahawks, apologizing for one of the stupidest calls ever in the history of coaching. His call was to throw the ball from the 1 yard line instead of punch into the end zone behind their thundering “Beastmode” running back, Marshawn Lynch. You all saw what happened. The ball was intercepted, essentially ending the game and preserving a harrowing victory for the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX. Or, maybe it was from Left Shark. Left Shark was Katy Perry’s bumbling dancer in an otherwise shining Super Bowl half-time show for the ages. Left Shark looked as if he was having trouble remembering his routine. Right Shark and Katy were crisp and sharp and made Left Shark look very, very bad. But, alas I opened it…

Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine: Reflections on Procrastination and the Teamwork Effectiveness Assessment Module

The great procrastinator. That’s what I call myself sometimes. I last re-certified for the ABIM board certificate in 2005. That was under the old system of every ten year renewals (but not the really old system of never having to renew). At the time one needed 100 total points and to pass the general internal medicine test. I waited until the last calendar year and then within a few months in early 2005, I did a patient survey module one week while on service, handing out patient surveys to every patient I saw, and then went to a Wake Forest MOC course where I completed four modules within 4 days. Boom, all my points done with only the test standing in my way. I put in a few months of brushing up on outpatient medicine with Med-Study study guides (which I highly recommend, no conflict of interest here, I paid…
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