Friday, July 3, 2015

ABIM - "HPM docs don't need to maintain internal medicine certification"

by Christian Sinclair

The American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) announced this week that board certified hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) doctors no longer need to maintain their internal medicine board certification (through exams and MOC) to keep their HPM board certification. Internal medicine doctors make up a significant majority of HPM docs, and many of them are practicing full time HPM. When you are doing full time HPM, the need to know how to work up hepatitis, or a new heart arrhythmia is not as critical. Clearly, internal medicine is a great foundation for being a good HPM doc, but the ongoing maintenance of internal medicine board certification is most valuable for those physicians who practice internal medicine full time.

But what about HPM board certified doctors who are primary boarded in family medicine, emergency medicine or any other specialty?  Well, consider this a chance to take this letter from ABIM to your representative groups and ask them for a similar exemption.

Of course for those of you who are doing HPM part-time, you may likely choose to continue your internal medicine MOC (e.g. hospitalists, internists, or primary care doctors).

In addition, you should check with your employer and make sure the organizational policy doesn't require you to be dual board -certified. Especially for some academic institutions their may still be a high bar set.

So thanks to the many people at the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine (AAHPM) and the American Board of Internal Medicine for helping to move this forward. Knowing what AAHPM has done to make initiatives like this happen, makes me glad to be part of the organization.

Now what are all of you internal medicine based HPM docs going to do with all that free time you have just been given?

(Interestingly GeriPal's Alex Smith wrote about this very dilemma last year.)

Christian Sinclair is a palliative medicine doctor at the University of Kansas, editor of Pallimed, and co-founder of #HPM chat. And now he is an internal medicine doctor with a lot more free time.

Photo Credit: Screencap from SpongeBob SquarePants Photo Credit: Celebrate from (that is not the author of this article)

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