American Academy of Emergency Medicine

ABEM EMCC Program Continues to Evolve

The American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) announced new changes to the organization's continuous certification program.

Many of the changes were based on feedback from diplomates who will participate in ABEM's Emergency Medicine Continuous Certification (EMCC) program. At its July 2001 Board of Directors meeting, ABEM approved revisions to EMCC that clarify the requirements of the program and provide diplomates with more options.

"Hundreds of diplomates contributed important suggestions to improve EMCC," said John McCabe, MD, EMCC Task Force Chair. "The Board listened carefully to this feedback and conducted a scientific diplomate opinion survey to validate suggestions before making the most recent changes. We will continue to welcome and encourage comments and input at EMCC continues to evolve and improve."

Here are some of the latest EMCC developments based on actions taken at ABEM's summer meeting:

EMCC will be implemented in 2004 instead of 2003.

The Board has delayed the Practice of Performance component until valid measures are developed.

The Board also delayed the requirements that candidates hold unrestricted Emergency Medicine privileges until valid measures and appropriate due process can be developed.

ABEM is encouraging the American College of Emergency Physicians, the Society of Academic Emergency Medicine and other EM organizations (see related article on page 10) to provide continuing medical education (CME) credits to diplomates who complete the EMCC annual self-assessment exams. Nearly all diplomates surveyed by ABEM indicated that CME credit for the annual self-assessment exams would add value to the EMCC program. However, ABEM is not a CME provider, nor is CME part of ABEM's mission.

The Board broadened the eligibility criteria for EMCC. Virtually any diplomate eligible for recertification under current ABEM rules will also be eligible for continuous certification under EMCC. Under the revised EMCC program, no diplomates will be excluded based on area of practice or specialization.

The Board added more flexibility and options to EMCC's annual self-assessment exams and 10-year ConCert exams. The Board also continued its commitment to making EMCC as convenient as possible for diplomates.

The Board made the commitment to implementing EMCC in 10-year cycles.

ABEM certifies the nation's emergency physicians. It is one of the 24 medical specialty boards that are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). ABMS is requiring its member boards to move from a periodic recertification process to a continuous certification model.

ABMS believes that continuous certification will better serve the American public and the specialties. All member boards will be required to establish higher and more continuous specialty certification requirements that comply with ABMS standards. The ABMS standards and the ABEM EMCC program promote continuous learning and annual assessment.

Under the EMCC program, diplomates will complete annual self-assessment exams for nine years, followed by the comprehensive ConCert exam in year 10. The annual exams will be offered over the Internet. The 10-year exams will be offered at more than 200 centers across the nation to minimize or eliminate the need for costly over-night travel. Diplomates will also be required to hold valid, unqualified and unrestricted medical licenses on a continuous basis in all jurisdictions where they have a license.

For the latest details about EMCC, please visit www.abem.org