The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) has heard the call and answered. Beginning in 2019 there will be a new way to fulfill the requirements of the MOC Part 3 exam, the Maintenance of Certification Assessment for Pediatrics, MOCA-Peds. MOC can be a heavy lift and physicians have long lobbied for content that is more relevant to daily practice and scheduling/testing that is more realistic for work and life schedules. The ABP has responded with a new option for the knowledge assessment portion of the MOC process.
The new MOCA-Peds is an online assessment program. Along with this new option, changes have been made to the MOC testing schedule. It will now be conducted every five years instead of every ten, and physicians must pass either the MOCA-Peds or a proctored exam. The exam does not necessarily have to be taken at a secure testing facility as was previously required. The ABP says the shorter time frame is necessary to ensure that physicians are keeping up with rapidly changing medical information.
Under the new knowledge assessment program, physicians will answer up to 20 questions each quarter in years 1 through 4 of each 5-year cycle. According to the ABP: “As participants answer each question (whenever and wherever they choose), they find out immediately whether their answer was correct and get a rationale for the right answer. To account for life events that may sometimes prevent a pediatrician from effectively participating in MOCA-Peds, the four lowest scoring quarters from those four years will be excluded automatically when determining if a pediatrician has met the passing standard.”
Under the new knowledge assessment program, physicians will answer up to 20 questions each quarter in years 1 through 4 of each 5-year cycle.
For each year that physicians pass, the ABP will also offer a life-long learning credit that fulfills requirements for Part 2 of MOC.
The pilot program was developed with 11,000 pediatrician volunteers. They answered the questions, gave feedback and insights until the ABP was satisfied that the program was effective. The pilot will continue through 2018 to fine tune the program before its official rollout in 2019.
Other important details of MOC-Peds, as stated by ABP, include:
- The cost of MOCA-Peds is included in the MOC fee.
- If pediatricians prefer not to participate, they will have the option to take the proctored exam at a secure testing center.
- Pediatricians who do not meet the passing standard for MOCA-Peds will be able to take the proctored exam to continue to maintain certification so that no one would lose certification over a single failure in MOCA-Peds. (Additional fees apply.)
- If they continue to participate in MOCA-Peds and continue to meet the passing standard in each MOC cycle, then they will not have to take a proctored exam at a secure testing facility to maintain their certification.
Enrolling in MOCA-Peds will be different for each provider:
- Pediatricians and pediatric subspecialists will automatically be enrolled in MOCA-Peds at the start of a MOC cycle, but the year each person starts will depend on when their next assessment and other MOC requirements are due.
- Pediatricians may log onto their portfolios to find out what year they may start MOCA-Peds.
- Beginning in 2018, exam due dates for all subspecialists will be postponed until MOCA-Peds is available in their subspecialty.
MOCA-Peds will be rolled out gradually for 15 pediatric subspecialty certifications:
- The first subspecialty versions will be available beginning in 2019.
- Then each year through 2022, ABP will roll out three or four additional subspecialty versions.
- MOCA-Peds will be available in 2019 for Child Abuse Pediatrics, Gastroenterology, and Infectious Disease certificates as well as General Pediatrics.
The ABP hopes that these changes will allow pediatricians to feel they are “keeping up” instead of constantly “catching up” with knowledge. Whether or not they have been successful in achieving that goal will reveal itself as physicians begin participating in the new system in 2019. Given the burden that MOC poses to most physicians, anything is bound to be an improvement on current requirements.