November 04, 2020 - Subspecialty Certification

COVID-19 Extensions for Subspecialty Assessments

Recognizing the significant burden physicians are facing during the COVID-19 pandemic, the ABPMR announced in April that "No ABPMR diplomate will lose certification or experience a status change due to not being able to complete an MOC requirement this year."

This commitment also applies to any diplomate with a subspecialty certificate expiring in 2020.

Subspecialty certified diplomates who are also certified in PM&R enjoy reciprocity for most certification requirements, including maintaining a current and active license, CME and self-assessment (SA) CME credits, and the Practice Improvement Project. The only additional requirement for recertification in a subspecialty is the assessment—in most cases, a secure examination (pain medicine diplomates also have the option of LA-Pain).

What to Do Now

If your subspecialty certification expires this year, find your group below for next steps regarding your assessment requirement (examination or LA-Pain):

1. I haven't taken an assessment.

Take a look at the ABPMR Exam Calendar and make a plan to apply for your subspecialty MOC examination in 2021. (If you're a pain medicine diplomate, you also have the option for LA-Pain; that application is open now.)

You will have until the end of 2021 to take and pass an assessment for your subspecialty. If you do not, your certification will expire at the end of next year.

2. I took an exam this year (or completed my LA-Pain questions) and am awaiting my results.

Great! Just keep awaiting your results. If you pass, congratulations! You've fulfilled your assessment requirement for your subspecialty and will recertify at the end of the year as normal. If you do not pass, take a look at the ABPMR Exam Calendar and make a plan to apply for your 2021 subspecialty MOC examination. You will have until the end of 2021 to take and pass an assessment for your subspecialty. If you do not, your certification will expire at the end of next year.

3. I enrolled in LA-Pain but haven't completed my questions.

We strongly encourage you to complete your 2020 questions if possible! We stand by our commitment, but consider doing your future self a favor by making a plan to complete all 120 questions by the end of this year if possible.

If you know you won't be able to complete all questions by the end of the year, apply for LA-Pain 2021 today. You'll have until the end of 2021 to answer all questions and meet the standard to officially recertify.

4. I already passed my subspecialty exam for MOC.

Congratulations! You will recertify as normal into a new 10-year cycle starting in 2021.

A Note About Primary Certification

This article is focused specifically on the assessment requirement for subspecialty recertification, but the same commitment applies to primary certification as well. Make sure you sign in to your abpmr.org account to check the status of your primary certification requirements as well, and make a plan to finish those by the end of this year or by the year they're due in deferment.

Questions?

So many details of your requirements have necessarily shifted this year, and we understand there may be questions. If you still have questions after reading through the information above, please contact us. We're happy to help.