The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 Member Boards have joined the fight against the growing opioid crisis in the United States. Officially recognizing Addiction Medicine as a subspecialty in October 2015, the designation allows physicians certified by any of the 24 ABMS Member Boards to apply for the new certificate through the ABMS sponsoring Board – the American Board of Preventive Medicine.
“Substance use and addiction are serious health problems of enormous proportion and impact in this country and on our society,” stated ABMS President and Chief Executive Officer Richard E. Hawkins, MD. “By offering certification in this important subspecialty, we continue in our role to assure patients and their families that their physicians meet the high standards of practice and clinical knowledge and have completed an approved educational program in this emerging medical field.”
In addition to the establishment of Addiction Medicine as a subspecialty, Member Boards are integrating accredited safe opioid education initiatives into their Programs for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) to further educate board certified physicians about opioid abuse, misuse, and responsible prescribing protocols. Examples of the educational offerings include:
- Many Boards have approved Opioid Prescriber Education Programs that are indexed in the ABMS Continuing Certification Directory™, an online repository of competency-based continuing certification activities. These activities include Federal Drug Administration Opioid Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) compliant activities, such as Safe and Competent Opioid Prescribing Education (SCOPE of Pain) – an online, case-based educational program designed to improve safety with prescribing opioids offered in collaboration with the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and Federation of State Medical Boards.
- The American Boards of Anesthesiology, Internal Medicine, and Pediatrics have more than 30 opioid-based approved educational activities on their CME Finder platform.
- The American Board of Anesthesiology’s (ABA) MOCA Minute® continuing certification program includes questions that address opioid crisis-related topics including multi-modal analgesia, opiate dosing, substance abuse, and recognition of impaired providers.
- The American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology has included clinically relevant information concerning opioid use in its new “Emerging Topics” category as part of its MOC program. The Board will continue to add articles throughout the year on such topics as post-discharge opioid use after cesarean delivery; opioid use in pregnancy, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and childhood outcomes; and shared decision-making interventions to guide opioid prescribing after cesarean delivery.
The Boards Community continues to explore and assess additional programming and cooperative efforts for their continuing certification programs to ensure that board certified physicians are current on the most up-to-date prescribing guidelines and other evidence-based pain management strategies.
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