ABIHM Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

Important Announcement for All Active ABIHM Diplomates Regarding MOC After 2008

In alignment with the entire medical field’s reevaluation of the value the MOC process, the ABIHM is discontinuing the MOC requirement for classes who initially certified in 2009 and later plus those who have already undergone an MOC cycle whose status is currently active. The class of 2008 is the final class for whom MOC is required, after which all currently active Diplomates will enjoy their status into perpetuity. We think you will be pleased by the changes as delineated below in more detail.

Please read this entire page to fully understand the significance of the ongoing changes!

Responding to a need for a scholarly holistic approach to health care, the ABHM–subsequently known as the ABIHM or American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine–created the first standard of knowledge competency for MD and DO physicians in integrative holistic medicine and gathered a meaningful community of caring, inquisitive and intelligent change agents for optimizing medical care.

The board of directors of the ABIHM announced the transformation of the ABIHM into the Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine (AIHM) in 2013. While the ABIHM has remained its own entity during the start-up years of the AIHM, the two organizations have worked together as sisters to offer one single community inclusive of all health care professionals standing together in service of an integrative model of health care. We are proud of our united community, and will now undergo the final step in the transformation of the ABIHM into the AIHM, marking an essential moment in ABIHM’s history.

The ABIHM offered its final certifying exam in 2014, after providing a self-regulating certification standard to over 3000 physicians. There were two reasons for ending the opportunity to become a new ABIHM Diplomate: 1) The emergence of the American Board of Integrative Medicine, offered under the American Board of Physician Specialties, which began to offer a new standard in integrative medicine for MD and DO physicians. The ABIHM opted to support a single new board standard. 2) The board of directors of the ABIHM had a broad vision to bring ALL health professionals together in harmony to transform health care at a more comprehensive level, rather than to focus on the MD and DO community alone, in recognition that we are stronger together in our diverse professions.

The ABIHM had intended to require the maintenance of certification process (MOC) for years into the future. However, in an era in which the entire medical field is reevaluating the value of MOC, the board of directors has recently concluded that we will serve our active Diplomates optimally if we allow them to retain their ABIHM status into perpetuity without requiring the MOC process. In other words, like other boards that have set precedence before us, we entrust our active Diplomates to continue their lifelong learning journey of continuing medical education and personal transformation without the need to report it to the ABIHM. Again, these changes apply to classes who certified in 2009 or later and Diplomates from the Classes of 2000-2007 who have undergone an MOC cycle already. Members of the classes of 2008 or those who certified or already recertified in 2009: detailed information about the implications of this change have been emailed and mailed to you via USPS or other communication.

The ABIHM as we have known it will discontinue its activities, and the AIHM will become the organizational home for all active ABIHM Diplomates (whom we hope will choose to become AIHM members). As an ABIHM Diplomate, questions regarding your status as such, credentialing verification, and other matters pertaining to the former ABIHM will be handled by the AIHM, which is well prepared to embrace the ABIHM community. Your status as a lifetime Diplomate of the ABIHM will be displayed on the AIHM website, whether or not you become an AIHM member, and a PDF of your certificate reflecting your perpetually active status will become available to you by the end of the year. The ABIHM website will be directed to the AIHM’s website by the end of the year.

As the ABIHM certifying process and MOC are being terminated, we advise that you refer to yourself as a Diplomate of the ABIHM, and if you wish to refer to yourself as “board certified”, please check with your state laws. And of course, you may continue to add “ABIHM” after your degree.

Some of you may wish to become certified by the new board, the American Board of Integrative Medicine (ABOIM).  Neither the ABIHM nor the AIHM are affiliated with the ABOIM, and there is no grandfathering process for ABIHM Diplomates to become board certified by the ABOIM. However, there are a few things you should know about the ABOIM:

  1. The ABOIM requires a fellowship level of integrative training to sit for their exam, but if you meet their time limited 500 Points Eligibility pathway by 12/1/16, as an active ABIHM Diplomate, you may be able to sit for their exam in May 2017 without a fellowship if you have adequate integrative medicine CME credits and/or practice experience.
  2. AIHM has vast online resources available for you to meet the ABOIM’s 500 Points Eligibility pathway, in addition to offering an ABOIM Review Course at the AIHM’s Annual Conference this year.
  3. The ABPS will verify your ABIHM Diplomate status directly through the ABIHM Web site. There is no need to provide them with a copy of your certificate.

2008 Diplomates should have received an email by now. Requirements to renew are:

  1. Professional standing: Includes current and unrestricted licensure in a US state, Canadian province or Puerto Rico; must agree to abide by the ABIHM Code of Ethics, and must report any of the following to ABIHM for review: Any impairment due to drugs or alcohol over previous seven years; any physical or mental condition that impairs professional performance; any malpractice or misconduct lawsuits or reviews over preceding seven years; license revocation or discipline or voluntary limitation of license to practice over preceding seven years; conviction for felony or misdemeanor related to the practice of medicine at any time.
  2. 80 AMA PRA Category One Credits over 7 years: Integrative content must be evident in activity title. Live or online content acceptable.
  3. Structured Personal Growth: 20 hours over 7 years. These activities are distinct from educational events to enhance practice tools. To satisfy this requirement, activities must be live, group events that serve to improve your relationships with yourself, your loved ones, your professional colleagues, your patients, your community, your spiritual callings or nature. Examples: Healer Within Seminars, Art of Hosting, World Café or programs offered from IONS, ISSSEEM, Bioneers, organized spiritual or self-help retreats, non-CME workshops (must be non-commercial), etc. The Structured Personal Growth category of MOC is intentionally open-ended. As long as the activity is a formally organized group activity that has a distinct beginning and end and offered a certificate or verification of participation, chances are that we will accept it. These activities may be AMA PRA Category One Credit activities, but are not required as such.
  4. Unstructured Personal Growth: 40 hours over 7 years. This requirement may include classes such as yoga, meditation or tai chi, book or workbook study in personal growth, receiving counseling, volunteering, journaling, publishing an article in a peer reviewed journal, teaching integrative medicine to students or the public or peer consultation/mentoring. As a general rule, reading peer reviewed journals or books regarding the practice of medicine does NOT count toward this requirement. An alternative to this requirement is 40 additional hours of structured personal growth activities.

Your recertification status will be updated after a review of the documents submitted by you and receipt of full payment.

The December 10, 2016 deadline has passed.

As an original member of the Class of 2002 having undergone MOC in 2009 or as a Diplomate from the Class of 2009, your status is considered active at this time, and you will be advanced to perpetually active with no further requirements. If you have paid to undergo MOC in 2016, you have been refunded. There is no need to proceed any further with work on your MOC.

As an active Diplomate, you are a pioneer of this movement. Our success would be incomplete without you! You have helped pave the road for others to do this beautiful work as integrative holistic medicine slowly becomes accepted into the larger sphere of health care.

It has been the privilege of the ABIHM to walk this path with you. The field of health care is better for it, and the movement continues swiftly, in no small part because of the work we inspired and accomplished together. We hope that you will proudly bear your ABIHM Diplomate status for the years yet to come in your career, and that you will forever carry the values and principles of the ABIHM in your heart.

As we wind down ABIHM’s activities, we are happy to receive your comments and concerns. If by email, please use abihm@aihm.org, and if by phone, please contact Kristin Gates at 858-240-9033, ext 1013. We are here for you always, and you will hear directly from the AIHM in the very near future.