Subspecialty Certification

LA-Pain: Answering your FAQs

We recently announced that all ABPMR Pain Medicine diplomates are expected to annually enroll and participate in LA-Pain (longitudinal assessment for Pain Medicine) starting in 2022. LA-Pain is a learning platform designed to assess your knowledge in pain medicine and provide resources to help you learn and improve over time. Participating is convenient, flexible, and relevant so you stay current in your pain medicine knowledge and care!

To prepare for your participation, we are answering your LA-Pain FAQs on enrollment, cost, annual requirements, and more.

How much does LA-Pain cost?

The cost is $200 a year to participate in LA-Pain and continue your pain medicine certificate, in addition to your CC (Continuing Certification) Program fee. This is to offset costs paid to the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) who administer the assessment, and for ABPMR staff time who provide support to pain medicine diplomates.

Please note: After 2022, you will be assessed $200 annually for your pain medicine certification, regardless of if you choose to participate in LA-Pain or not.

How many questions will I have each year?

Starting in 2022, the assessment is split into four quarters with 15 questions per quarter, or 60 total questions per year.

Do questions carryover from previous quarters?

We encourage you to complete the 15 questions each quarter to avoid questions piling up at the end of the year. However, unanswered questions do carryover to the next quarter; the deadline to answer all questions for the year is December 31 at 11:59 pm EST. The system allows you to answer a daily maximum of 30 questions, so keep that in mind as you plan your quarterly participation.

What performance standard do I need to pass?

Your performance standard is calculated in real-time based on a process from the ABA called measurement decision theory (MDT). MDT is based on the probability that you’re keeping your knowledge up to date based on question difficulty and your pattern of responses.

If you meet the MDT performance standard— the probability that you are up to date in your knowledge is greater than or equal to 0.1 (p-value > 0.1)—by the end of the last year in your certificate cycle, you will recertify.

How do I know if I’m meeting the performance standard?

MDT is determined based on the most recent 120 questions you’ve answered (two years), so your performance in the final two years of your certificate cycle hold the most weight. Whether or not you’re meeting the performance standard will be displayed on your LA-Pain dashboard and updated in real time— if you’re wondering how you’re doing, sign into your dashboard! Participating over multiple years means you have a longer ‘runway’ to ensure you’re meeting the MDT standard.

What happens if I don’t meet the performance standard?

Your pain medicine certification will expire at the end of your certificate cycle if you don’t meet the performance standard. You have two options to regain pain medicine certification:

  • Continue participation in LA-Pain and meet the performance standard after two years (120 questions). You will be expired during this time of participation, but will recertify if you meet the performance standard at the end of two years
  • Take and pass the Pain Medicine Examination offered annually in the Fall

How do I study for LA-Pain?

Think of the platform as a study tool rather than something you study for. As you answer questions each quarter, the platform will show areas for improvement and provide resources for more learning. Spaced repetition will keep bringing topics back where there is opportunity for improvement. Don’t worry about answering every question correctly! What matters is continuous learning and improving over time, which the platform assists you in doing.

To review the areas that will be covered on LA-Pain, see the content outline for the Pain Medicine Examination from the ABA.

Can I view information from previous quarters?

From past quarters, you can view rationales, references, and resources on the LA-Pain dashboard. This will be useful for your own review and learning.

What about 10-year certificates?

The ABPMR is honoring all current 10-year certificates. You are expected to still participate in LA-Pain even with a 10-year certificate— if you don’t participate, your certification status won’t change but your participation status will change to “Certified, Not Meeting Requirements.”

What about the Pain Medicine Examination?

The exam is still an option FOR NOW. The exam will eventually be retired, so we encourage you to enroll in LA-Pain and begin participating. If you choose to take the exam, the cost is $2,000 in addition to your annual $200 pain medicine certification fee AND your annual CC Program fee.

Do I need to participate in both LA-PM&R (longitudinal assessment for PM&R) and LA-Pain?

Yes. LA-Pain will assist you in your pain medicine knowledge, and LA-PM&R will assist with your PM&R knowledge. Both platforms are valuable learning tools for your knowledge and patient care!

Why should I participate?

LA-Pain provides valuable tools to give you control over your learning and help you get the most out of your pain medicine certification. As you answer your quarterly questions, the platform will provide immediate feedback and resources to help you learn over time, as well as identify areas for growth. Instead of one exam every 10 years that tests what you know on the day of the exam, LA-Pain is designed to continually keep your knowledge up to date to best serve your patients.

I have questions about my specific requirements for my certification cycle.

Please check your inbox for an email from the ABPMR about what participation in LA-Pain will look like based on your pain medicine certificate expiration.

Enroll in LA-Pain here and please reach out to the ABPMR with questions as you enroll in and complete LA-Pain.

Helpful resources:

ABPMR announcement for LA-Pain

Enroll in LA-Pain here

Access the LA-Pain platform

Measurement Decision Theory (scoring process from the ABA)

Content outline for the Pain Medicine Examination

Apply for the Pain Medicine Examination

More information on LA-Pain

Originally Published: November 16, 2021