Enroll & Understand Policies for Maintenance of Certification

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Enrollment Procedure

  • Login to your Physician Home Page.
  • You will be prompted to update your contact information and complete a Practice Characteristics Profile.
  • Before you electronically sign your enrollment application, you will be asked to read the following statement:

    "By this application to the American Board of Internal Medicine (the "ABIM"), I agree to be bound by the terms, conditions, and rules set forth in the ABIM's Policies and Procedures for Certification and in this Web site, as they may be amended from time to time.

    I understand that by applying, I am entering into a contract with the American Board of Internal Medicine to provide certain health care operations services, including practice assessment and evaluations. The ABIM HIPAA Business Associate Agreement is a part of this contract.

    I agree to indemnify, release, and hold harmless the ABIM, its employees, officers, directors, members, agents, and those furnishing information about me to the ABIM from any claims, liability, or damage by reason of any of their acts or omissions, done in good faith, in connection with this application, information furnished to the ABIM, the evaluation of my qualifications, and examinations.

    I understand that the ABIM may use my examination performance, training program evaluations, self evaluations of knowledge and practice performance, and other information for research purposes, including collaboration with other research investigators and scientific publications. In such research, the Board will not identify specific individuals, hospitals, or practice associations. All practice performance data is HIPAA compliant.

    I also understand that ABIM utilizes data forensic techniques that use statistical analyses of test-response data to identify patterns of test fraud, including cheating and piracy.

    I hereby declare under penalty of perjury that the information given in my application is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and beliefs.

    I agree to be legally bound by the foregoing."

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Cost to Enroll

  • The one-time Maintenance of Certification enrollment fee is $1,495. An additional fee of $700 is charged for each additional exam you take after the first exam. The fee, which is valid for 10 years, covers the required 100 self-evaluation points and one examination.
  • You can pay by American Express, VISA, MasterCard, or Discover when you enroll online, or you will receive an invoice payable by check, money order, or American Express, VISA, MasterCard, or Discover.
  • Discounted fees are offered if you renew a certificate issued by ABIM and another American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board.
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Participation in Maintenance of Certification

Internists and subspecialists certified in 1990 or later (1987 for critical care medicine and 1988 for geriatric medicine) must complete the program to maintain Certification. Everyone else is strongly urged to participate.

It is easy to participate if you are renewing more than one certificate, e.g., internal medicine and a subspecialty. You earn your 100 points of self-evaluation only once and apply the points to each certificate you renew. (The points you earn must be valid at the time each certificate expires. Each self-evaluation module is valid for 10 years.) Discounted fees are offered for renewing a certificate issued by ABIM and another ABMS member board.

In general, you do not need to maintain Certification in internal medicine to recertify in a subspecialty; however, a few exceptions apply:

  • To be eligible for renewal of a certificate in adolescent medicine, sleep medicine and sports medicine you must maintain a valid underlying certificate in either internal medicine or a subspecialty.
  • To be eligible for renewal of a certificate in clinical cardiac electrophysiology or interventional cardiology, you must maintain a valid underlying certificate in cardiovascular disease.
  • To be eligible for renewal of a certificate in transplant hepatology, you must maintain a valid underlying certificate in gastroenterology.
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Timing for Completing the Requirements

  • ABIM strongly recommends spreading the self-evaluation and exam components over the 10 year period of your certificate.
  • Give yourself ample time to complete the program by enrolling no later than the fourth year after Certification.
  • You may register for and take the exam any time in years six through 10 of your certificate.
  • Important: Completion of the PIM - which is required to earn your points for Self-Evaluation of Practice Performance - will take two months or more. Be sure to allow ample time to order and complete the PIM, especially if you are in the tenth year of your certificate.
  • When you complete the program, you will be eligible to receive a new certificate valid for 10 years.
    • ABIM will issue your new certificate when your old one expires
    • If you have a time-limited certificate that has expired or if you hold a time-unlimited certificate, your new certificate will become effective in the year you complete the program.
    • Your name and Certification dates will be listed on the "Check for Certification" page of www.abim.org and in the Directory of Board-Certified Internists, published by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
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Cancellation and Refund Policy

If you withdraw before completing any self-evaluation modules or taking an exam you will receive a partial refund; ABIM retains a $145 registration fee. No refunds are processed after you complete a module or take an exam.

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Update Contact Information

ABIM requires your current contact information, both your mailing and e-mail addresses, as well as your telephone number. Update your contact information online.

Note: E-mail is ABIM's primary means of communicating important information to board-certified internists and subspecialists. Please contact ABIM if your e-mail address changes.

Your Name in ABIM Records

Important: ABIM uses your full, official name in its records. To change your name, or to correct the spelling of your name, you must notify ABIM in writing. Send your changes to:

American Board of Internal Medicine
510 Walnut Street
Suite 1700
Philadelphia, PA 19106-3699
fax 215-446-3590 (use this fax number for name changes only)
e-mail request@abim.org (if you can provide documentation in digital form; e.g., pdf)

To Change Your Name

Provide documentation of the change (i.e., copy of marriage certificate, naturalization papers, court order of name change, etc.). Any future mailings you receive from ABIM will be mailed under your new name. Your former name will be listed as an "alternate" name in our system. Both forms of your official name will be listed in the database and will appear upon a search of your Certification status in the "Verify a Physician Certification" section of the site.

To Correct the Spelling of Your Name

Provide both the correct and incorrect spelling of your name and your candidate number and/or social security number. In addition, please indicate how your name should be listed in our records, by providing your full first, middle and last names.

To Request a Preferred Name

When you become certified, you may request to have a "preferred" name printed on your ABIM certificate (i.e., nickname, hyphenated last name, middle initial only, maiden name, etc.). However, ABIM maintains your full, official name in its records and will change it only if you inform ABIM of an official name change and provide documentation of the name change.

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Program and Policy Guide

Program and Policy Guide for Maintenance of Certification, December 2008 (pdf)

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Other Important Policies

Note: ABIM and "the Board" both refer to the American Board of Internal Medicine in the following policy statements.

ABIM's Evaluations and Judgments

Candidates for Certification and Maintenance of Certification agree that their professional qualifications, including their moral and ethical standing in the medical profession and their competence in clinical skills, will be evaluated by ABIM, and ABIM's good faith judgment concerning such matters will be final.

ABIM may make inquiry of persons named in candidates' applications and of other persons, such as authorities of licensing bodies, hospitals or other institutions as ABIM may deem appropriate with respect to such matters. Candidates agree that ABIM may provide information it has concerning them to others whom ABIM judges to have a legitimate need for it.

ABIM makes academic and scientific judgments in its evaluations of the results of its examinations. Situations may occur, even through no fault of the candidates, that render examination results unreliable in the judgment of ABIM. Candidates agree that if ABIM determines, in its judgment, that the results of their examination are unreliable, ABIM may require the candidates to retake an examination at its next administration or other time designated by ABIM.

Board Eligibility

ABIM does not use, define or recognize the term "Board Eligible."

Reporting Certification Status

ABIM will routinely report through its website, or by mail, whether candidates are certified (including dates) or not certified. If a physician was previously certified, the dates of former Certification will be reported. If Certification is revoked or suspended, ABIM will report that fact, including the date of revocation or suspension.

On a candidate's written request to ABIM, the following information should also be provided in writing: (1) that an application is currently in process and/or (2) the year the candidate was last admitted to examination.

Representation of Certification Status

Diplomates of ABIM must accurately state their ABIM Board Certification status at all times. This includes descriptions in curriculum vitae, advertisements, publications, directories and letterheads.

Please note: ABIM does not authorize the use of its logo by others.

Diplomates with expired time-limited certification or those whose certification is suspended or revoked may not claim ABIM Board Certification and must revise all descriptions of their qualifications accordingly. If you have multiple certifications and allow one of them to lapse, you should revise your public materials (letterhead, business cards, advertisements, etc.) to reflect those certifications that are currently valid. When a physician misrepresents Board Certification status, ABIM may notify local credentialing bodies, licensing bodies, law enforcement agencies and others.

See Guidelines and Examples of Accurate Statements of Certification (pdf).

Errors and Disruptions in Examination Administration

Occasionally problems occur in the creation, administration and scoring of examinations. For example, power failures, hardware and software problems, human errors or weather problems may interfere with some part of the examination process. When such problems occur, ABIM will provide the affected candidates with an opportunity for re-examination. Re-examination shall be the candidate's sole remedy. ABIM shall not be liable for inconvenience, expense or other damage caused by any problems in the creation, administration or scoring of an examination, including the need for retesting or delays in score reporting. In no circumstance will ABIM reduce its standards as a means of correcting a problem in examination administration.

Confidentiality Policy

ABIM considers the Certification or recertification status of its candidates and board-certified physicians to be public information.

ABIM provides an internist's or subspecialist's Certification status and personal identifying information, including address and social security number, to the Federation of State Medical Boards (FSMB) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), which publishes The Official ABMS Directory of Board Certified Medical Specialists. FSMB and ABMS use personal identifying information, including social security numbers, as a unique internal identifier and maintain the confidentiality of this information. On request, ABIM provides a physician's Certification status and address to the professional medical societies that provide educational resources relevant to the Maintenance of Certification program.

ABIM provides residency and fellowship training directors with information about a trainee's prior training and pass/fail status on certifying examinations. If a trainee has given permission, ABIM will provide the program director with the trainee's score on his/her first attempt at the Certification examination for that area of training. ABIM uses examination performance, training program evaluations, self evaluations of knowledge and practice performance, and other information for research purposes, including collaboration with other research investigators and scientific publications. In such research, the Board will not identify specific individuals, hospitals or practice associations. All practice performance data is HIPAA compliant.

ABIM reserves the right to disclose information it possesses about any individual whom it judges has violated ABIM rules, engaged in misrepresentation or unprofessional behavior, or shows signs of impairment.

Licensure

Candidates for certification and Maintenance of Certification must possess a valid, unrestricted, and unchallenged medical license in the United States, its territories or Canada. Candidates practicing exclusively abroad and who do not hold a US or Canadian license, must hold a license where they practice and provide documentation from the relevant licensing authority that their license is in good standing and without conditions or restrictions. A candidate whose license has been restricted, suspended, revoked, or surrendered in lieu of disciplinary action, in any jurisdiction, cannot be certified, recertified or admitted to a certification examination. Restrictions include but are not limited to conditions, contingencies, probation, and stipulated agreements.

Disabled Candidates

ABIM (The Board) recognizes that some candidates have physical limitations that make it impossible for them to fulfill the requirement for proficiency in performing procedures. For such individuals, the procedural skills requirement may be waived. Program directors should write to the Board for an exception before the individual enters training or when the disability becomes established.

For additional information about the process and documentation requirements, please refer to: Take the Exam: Testing Accommodations for Exam Takers with Disabilities.

Substance Abuse

If a candidate or an ABIM-certified physician has a history of substance abuse, documentation of at least one year of continuous sobriety from a reliable monitoring source must be submitted to ABIM for admission to an examination or to receive a certificate. ABIM treats such information as confidential.

Suspension and Revocation of Certificates

ABIM (the Board) may, at its discretion, revoke Certification if the physician was not qualified to receive the certificate at the time it was issued, even if the certificate was issued as a result of a mistake on the part of the Board. It may also revoke the certificate if the physician fails to maintain moral, ethical or professional behavior satisfactory to the Board, or engages in misconduct that adversely affects professional competence or integrity. It may revoke or suspend the certificate if: (1) the physician made any material misstatement of fact or omission of fact to the Board in connection with application or to any third party concerning the diplomate's Certification status; or (2) the diplomate's license to practice medicine has been revoked, suspended, restricted or surrendered in lieu of disciplinary action in any jurisdiction. Restrictions include but are not limited to conditions, contingencies, probation, and stipulated agreements. A physician may petition the Board for reinstatement of suspended Certification upon restoration of unrestricted licensure. If the Board grants the petition, and upon such conditions as the Board may require, the physician must complete the Board's Maintenance of Certification program. Upon successful completion of the Maintenance of Certification program, the physician will be granted renewed Certification subject to the rules of the Board then in effect.

Irregular Behavior on Examinations

The Board's examinations are copyrighted and administered in secure testing centers by test administrators who are responsible for maintaining the integrity and security of the Certification process. Test administrators are required to report to the Board any irregular or improper behavior by a candidate, such as giving or obtaining information or aid, looking at the test material of others, removing examination materials from the test center, taking notes, bringing electronic devices (e.g., beepers, pagers, cell phones, etc.) into the examination, failing to comply with time limits or instructions, talking, or other disruptive behavior. In addition, as part of its effort to assure exam integrity, ABIM utilizes data forensic techniques that use statistical analyses of test-response data to identify patterns of test fraud, including cheating and piracy.

Irregular or improper behavior that is observed, made apparent by data forensics, statistical analysis, or uncovered by other means will be considered a subversion of the Certification process and will constitute grounds for invalidation of a candidate's examination.

Other actions that the Board may take at its discretion include exclusion from future examinations and informing program director(s), licensing bodies, impaired physicians advocacy groups, or law enforcement agencies of ABIM's actions.

Re-examination

Candidates who are unsuccessful on an examination may apply for re-examination. To be granted admission, candidates must meet all applicable licensure, professional standing and procedural requirements. As long as these requirements are met, there is no restriction on the number of opportunities for re-examination.

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