Component Session Helps Prepare for ABAM Certification Exam

ASAM members can prepare for the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) certification exam by attending Component Session 13, “ABAM Certification 101,” from 4:30 to 6 pm Saturday in Orlando Ballroom V, Lower Level. This is a session that has been beneficial in preparing for the exam, said Kevin Kunz, MD, FASAM, ABAM Executive Vice President.

The session will address eligibility criteria, examination format, content, and the scoring and notification process. The exam application will be reviewed, and it will be possible to begin registration for the exam at the session.

More than 900 physicians sat for the exam in each of the last two test cycles. The pass rate for first-time examinees has averaged approximately 85 percent. For those taking the recertification exam, now known as Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Part III, Cognitive Examination, the pass rate averages 93 percent, Dr. Kunz said.

The five-hour, 250-question certification exam is designed by the ABAM Examination Committee, with members representing the eight major specialties treating or preventing addiction in collaboration with the National Board of Medical Examiners. An ASAM fellowship is not required to take the exam.

To be eligible to take the exam, physicians must have an active medical license, have completed a primary residency in any field, have earned 50 CME credits related to addiction, and have 1,920 hours of activity in the field of addiction prevention and treatment over the last five years. The activity in the field can include clinical hours, research, teaching, or administration. The regular exam application deadline is May 31, and the final deadline is July 15.

Physicians passing the exam can enroll in the ABAM MOC program. ABAM is working to gain recognition of addiction medicine as a specialized field of medical practice and continue a certification process through collaboration with the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its member boards. All ABMS specialties and subspecialties are required to have a four-component MOC program. Board certification and MOC have become expected of physicians throughout health care as a sign of their medical knowledge, competence, and professionalism.

MOC is an ABMS requirement that ABAM has adopted for its ABAM Diplomates, Dr. Kunz said.

“MOC assures that the physician is committed to lifelong learning by requiring ongoing measurement of six core competencies adopted in 1999 by ABMS and the ACGME [Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education],” he said. “There’s ample evidence to suggest that physicians who have participated in MOC have a greater impact on the quality of care that patients receive.”

ASAM also presented a Component Session Thursday night to help ABAM diplomates prepare for the MOC Part III Cognitive Exam.