If you haven’t heard, it’s enrollment time for LA-PM&R right now (if you haven’t yet, enroll today!). While the enrollment process is fairly straightforward, we’re hearing some common questions about logistics, scoring, participation requirements, and generally how the transition to LA-PM&R affects you — so we’re going to answer some of those today.

Q. I enrolled and it’s at the ‘ABPMR Review’ step. What else do I need to do?

Nothing! We’ll be able to review and approve batches of diplomate enrollments in the next few months (remember, it’s our first time through this process too!), but in the meantime you can relax — there’s nothing more for you to do.

Q. I’ve enrolled. What can I do to prepare for LA-PM&R before January?

We’re hearing this one a lot! We get it – for our 70-year history, every ABPMR assessment has been an examination — a purely summative assessment of your knowledge at one point in time. Longitudinal assessment is formative, designed to help you learn and improve over time. In fact, the scoring design gives partial credit if you can show you’ve improved! As you interact with LA-PM&R, the data will start to show you your strengths and your opportunities for improvement – and in addition to making your own improvement plans outside the platform, LA-PM&R will also, by itself, help you learn and improve.

In short, the platform IS the study tool. If you’re interested in a longer answer, read our article How Do I Study for LA-PM&R?

Q. What’s the performance standard for LA-PM&R?

The performance standard for LA-PM&R will be determined after enough data has been collected to perform a full psychometric evaluation. We anticipate having adequate information in the next few years and will update diplomates as soon as possible; in the meantime know this: the performance standard will be based on individual ability level. In other words, whether you meet requirements depends only on your performance, not how other diplomates perform. For this reason, we encourage diplomates not to concern themselves with the “Community Comparison” feature within CertLink.

Remember, the goal and design of the system is to keep you certified and help you improve — not to set an arbitrary cut-off point and remove certifications. If you are meaningfully participating and learning along the way, you likely won’t have to worry about meeting requirements. Instead, know this: You will be able to track your performance in real-time so should you find yourself falling behind, you will have opportunities to improve your score. As always, we are here to help.

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

If you find yourself in this position (likely due to non-participation), we will have an annual opportunity to take a re-entry examination starting in 2021. This secure examination will be based on the Part I Examination (for initial certification) outline and at the same difficulty level. You can read more about options for re-entry here.

Q. Is LA-PM&R replacing all parts of MOC, including CMEs and the PIP?

A. No – but it does count for more than one part of the program. By participating fully in LA-PM&R, you not only fulfill MOC Part III; you can also claim 3 self-assessment CME (SA-CME) per quarter, or up to 12 SA-CME credits per year — which can fulfill all of your SA-CME requirement and obviously part of your CME requirement, too.

Yes, we are still requiring MOC Part IV, the practice improvement project, or PIP. (We wrote a whole article about it, if you’re interested.) In the future, we hope to tie more and more of your work in LA-PM&R to other requirements, helping create an integrated program that ties in seamlessly with your knowledge and practice.

Q. My current certificate expires in 2020, 2021, 2022, or 2023. Does meaningful participation in LA-PM&R really fulfill my MOC Part III requirement?

A. Yes! Because we need a 5-year cycle to truly assess performance, we’re allowing those diplomates with less than five years to go before certificate expiration to complete a minimum of 75% of the quarters during the time you have left on your certificate. So if your certificate expires in 2021, for example, you’re required to fully participate (reading all questions and answering to the best of your ability) in a minimum of 6 out of the 8 quarters during 2020 and 2021. And no, your responses won’t be scored – but you’ll still experience the learning benefits. You can read more about our definition of 'meaningful participation' here.

We recognized a need to create a pathway to recertification as we make this major transition, and our board believes strongly in longitudinal assessment’s promise to help physicians improve — which is why a participation-only pathway was approved.

More questions? We have an informational webinar scheduled for Wednesday, October 23 at 5:30 p.m. Central, and two more webinars coming up in November and December. Email us to request an invite to one of these 20-minute webinars.

As always, just reach out to our MOC experts with any other questions about enrollment, LA-PM&R program design, or what the implementation plan means for you.

Originally Published: October 22, 2019