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ABPMR Announces New Options to Maintain Primary and Subspecialty Certificates

Tuesday, February 26, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Bernadette Rensing
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ABPMR announces new options to maintain primary and subspecialty certificates

By Anthony M Tarvestad, JD

February 26, 2013

Rochester, MN – The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (ABPMR) today announced that, beginning in 2015, physicians holding time‐limited subspecialty certificates will no
longer be required to maintain their primary certification in physical medicine and rehabilitation. Subspecialty certificate holders may choose to maintain both primary and subspecialty certificates or
maintain only the subspecialty certificate(s). Physicians choosing to maintain only their subspecialty
certification(s) must continue to participate in Parts I, II, and IV of the primary Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program and successfully complete the subspecialty MOC Examination(s).

This new policy ensures that physicians stay updated in their areas of expertise without taking time
away from patient care to study for and take the primary PM&R exam which includes 16 topic areas,
many of which subspecialists no longer encounter in their practice. Physicians can now choose which

option best meets their needs to optimize patient care in their practices.

The ABPMR also announced that, beginning in 2015, physicians holding lifetime primary certification
who become subspecialty certified must actively participate in Parts I‐IV of the MOC Program in order
to maintain their subspecialty certification. For physicians with existing subspecialty certification,
participation in MOC will be required starting with their next cycle beginning in or after 2015. This
includes successful completion of the subspecialty MOC Examination, not the primary MOC

Examination. This policy will not affect the lifetime status of the primary certificate.

This new policy ensures that physicians stay updated in the areas in which they are practicing and
meets the spirit of the ABMS Committee on Oversight and Monitoring of Maintenance of Certification
(COMMOC) requirements to implement strategies to engage lifetime certificate holders in MOC. All

subspecialty time‐limited certificate holders are now held to the same requirements.

About The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation

Founded in 1947, the American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation is one of 24 medical
specialty boards that make up the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). For more

information about the ABMS, visit

The ABPMR comprises a distinguished board of nationally recognized leaders in physical medicine andrehabilitation medical education, clinical practice, academic medicine, and research. The ABPMR

establishes the requirements for certification and maintaining certification, creates its examinations,
strives to improve training, and contributes to setting the standards for physical medicine and


The ABPMR is accountable both to the public and the medical profession through:
  • Helping patients by providing information about the board certification process and which doctors are board certified.
  • Supporting physicians by creating programs that assist doctors in staying current in their field and improve their practice.
  • Collaborating with healthcare leaders to foster initiatives for the promotion and monitoring of healthcare quality.
  • Transforming healthcare by increasing awareness of the importance of board certification and lifelong learning in assuring quality care.

For more information about the ABPMR, visit


To learn more about these new policies, please contact

Anthony M. Tarvestad, JD
3015 Allegro Park Lane SW
Rochester MN 55902‐1439
Office: (507) 282‐1776


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