Maintenance of Certification

AGA's Principles for MOC Reform

  • We support ending the high-stakes, every 10-year exam.
  • We do not support closed-book assessments as they do not represent the current realities of medicine in the digital age.
  • We support the principles of lifelong learning as evidenced by ongoing CME activities, rather than lifelong testing.
  • We support the concept that, for the many diplomates who specialize in certain areas of gastroenterology and hepatology, MOC should not need to include high-stakes assessments of areas where the diplomate may not practice.

AGA Continues to Push ABIM to Reform MOC

AGA continues to work with ABIM and other specialty societies to improve the recertification process. Here is a summary of recent events.

Sept. 2016: ABIM distributed a survey to all board-certified physicians outlining two proposed alternative MOC assessment pathways — a two-year and five-year model — currently under consideration by ABIM. AGA has concerns about these pathways, which fall short of our principles of individualization, lifelong education and low-stakes testing. AGA will meet with other internal medicine societies (including cardiologists, oncologists, hematologists, rheumatologists, nephrologists and endocrinologists) to share our views with ABIM.

May 2016: ABIM responded to the April letter sent by an AGA-led coalition of internal medicine societies, asking for clarity about ABIM’s vision for the MOC process. The board committed to providing specialty societies with advance notice of any potential changes in the process, agreeing to consider our insights when developing those changes. Significantly, ABIM also noted that it expects to provide more specific details about what the alternative option will look like no later than Dec. 31, 2016.

May 2016: ABIM announced plans to offer physicians the option of taking shorter assessments on their personal or office computer more frequently than every 10 years but no more than annually. This is a step in the right direction, but questions remain as to whether the changes are enough or whether the assessment will be individualized to the professional activities of subspecialists. Our work continues.

April 2016: AGA sent a letter to ABIM seeking to understand its plan for re-engineering MOC to reflect the changing nature of medical practice. Presidents of AGA and leading specialty societies posed a number of questions and asked for answer by the end of April. We will keep you posted on what we hear.

March 2016:  ABIM launched a study to examine ways ABIM diplomates might have access to online resources during a portion of the MOC assessment. In this update, ABIM leaders promised to develop a timetable and plan to reform MOC, based on what they have heard from the physician community.

March 2016: AGA attended the usually closed-door American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) GI Specialty Board meeting. Although we are viewing the invitation to attend this meeting as a positive step, it seems that ABIM has no definitive approach to change the high-stakes examination and that their current efforts were focused on maintaining business as usual. 

November 2015: In November 2015, AGA Institute President Michael Camilleri, MD, AGAF, and other AGA leaders met with ABIM to share feedback and a joint letter. During this meeting, Dr. Camilleri emphasized that gastroenterologists need a recertification system that fosters active learning, not high-stakes testing.

September 2015: In September, ABIM released Assessment 2020, A Vision for Certification in Internal Medicine in 2020, a report from an ABIM-convened task force. Many of the recommendations are consistent with those in AGA’s proposed pathway. However, AGA is very eager to ensure recertification reform before 2020. 

August 2015: AGA issued an alternate pathway proposal, which eliminates the high-stakes examination and replaces it with active and adaptive learning self-directed modules that allow for continuous feedback, and are based solidly on learning theory. Some highlights include:

  • Replace the 10-year Maintenance of Certification Exam with More Frequent, Less Burdensome Exams
  • Recommendation: Focus Assessments on Cognitive and Technical Skills.
  • Recognize Specialization

ABIM Has Changed Its Certification Requirements

Changes to MOC Requirements

See the summary of MOC changes listed below. The ABIM website can provide you with more detailed information on the changing requirements and your personalized MOC status report. Log in to to review your MOC status report and see your specific program requirements.

  • Every 10 Years:
    Board Exam

    Every 10 Years: Board Exam

    Pass a secure exam once every 10 years.
    Strategies for exam preparation: acquire a strong base of medical knowledge and practice answering board-style multiple choice questions.


  • Every 5 Years:
    100 MOC Points

    Every 5 Years: 100 MOC Points

    Earn 100 MOC points every five years.

  • Every 2 Years:
    Some MOC Activity

    Every 2 Years: Some MOC Activity

    Complete at least one MOC activity every two years.
    Points earned for this activity count toward the 100 MOC points needed for the five-year requirement. Any certified MOC activity qualifies for this requirement.





Meeting MOC Requirements

How you need to meet MOC requirements depends on when your current certification is set to expire.  Read below for what you need to do in order to stay current.

  • Lifetime Certificate

    Lifetime Certificate Grandfathers

    The ABIM will honor all certifications already issued, and diplomates who received certifications that are valid indefinitely will remain certified (assuming you hold a current and valid license). Those who are grandfathered will not be required to take the exam to remain certified.

    However, regardless of when you were initially certified, ABIM and ABMS will begin reporting whether or not physicians are “Participating” or “Not Participating in MOC”. In order to remain meeting MOC requirements you must take the following steps:

    1. Sign in to to activate your program
    2. Meet the point requirements of the MOC program
    3. Take and pass the MOC exam in Gastroenterology by Dec. 31, 2023


    Grandfathers who miss any of the MOC program requirements will be reported as Certified, Not Meeting MOC Requirements. They will not be reported as Not Certified for failing to meet MOC requirements.

  • Certificate Expires

    Certificate Expires 2014-2017

    You will continue to be certified for the length of your current certification(s), assuming you hold a current and valid license.

    Log in to and visit your MOC Status Report to learn your specific MOC program requirements.

    1. If you are not enrolled in MOC, log in to and enroll by indicating which certification(s) you choose to maintain.
    2. Meet your existing program requirements by Dec. 31 of your certificate’s expiration year. Note that any points earned prior to 2014 will only count toward the 100 points you need to maintain your certification(s) and will not count toward the new Meeting MOC Requirements reporting.
    3. Any MOC activity you complete in 2014 and after will count toward your certification(s) expiring in 2014 AND toward Meeting MOC Requirements.


    If all your program requirements are met, upon expiration of each time-limited certification you are maintaining you will receive a new certificate, the ongoing validity of which is contingent upon Meeting MOC Requirements.

  • Certificate Expires
    2018 or Beyond

    Certificate Expires 2018 or Beyond

    You will continue to be certified for the length of your current certification(s), assuming you hold a current and valid license.

    Log in to and visit your MOC Status Report in early 2014 to learn your specific MOC program requirements.

    To meet MOC Requirements you will need to:

    1. Enroll in MOC if you have not already done so. Log in to and enroll by indicating which certification(s) you choose to maintain.
    2. Earn points during the two- and five-year milestone cycles, beginning in 2014. Unfortunately, any points you earned prior to Jan. 1, 2014 will not count toward maintaining certifications.
    3. Pass a secure exam every 10 years.


    If you do not meet the 100-point requirement by Dec. 31, 2018, but still have time left on your certificate, you will be reported as “Certified, Not Participating in MOC”.


ABIM Maintenance of Certification 2014:
Navigating the Challenges to Find Opportunities for Success

Physicians today are under increased pressures and scrutiny from society, insurers and governmental agencies to deliver demonstrably high-quality, safe patient care and document evidence of their continuing competency as a provider. Certification by the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) is one measure of a physician’s competence.

John F. Kuemmerle, MD, AGAF, outlines the opportunities available to easily and successfully navigate the murky waters of the current MOC requirements while obtaining added value to your practice, and to successfully pass the secure recertifying board examination on the first attempt in a new commentary from the Gastroenterlogy Mentoring, Education and Training Corner.

Learn More