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North Dakota Chapter Banner

From the Governor

Dr. Blehm

Julie A. Blehm, MD, FACP, ACP Governor

I must admit this is a difficult newsletter to write. This will be my last newsletter as ACP Governor for North Dakota. As of May 1, 2015 Dr. Neville Alberto will be the Governor of the ND chapter of the ACP. I am going to remain active both locally and nationally as I will be serving on two national ACP committees. I want to thank all of you for your support and encouragement over the last five years. It has been an honor to serve and represent the North Dakota chapter of the ACP.

I have greatly enjoyed my time as the Governor of our Chapter and I have learned so much these last five years (four as Governor and one as Governor-elect). I have also met many wonderful people. I am more convinced than ever that the American College of Physicians is critical to our survival as internists. The work they are doing on "patients before paperwork" is just one example. Other examples are the work done on the ABIM MOC and the repeal of SGR by the House that occurred March 26. ACP played a major role in these issues and will continue to do so. It is also up to all of us to speak with our senators and ask them to vote to repeal the SGR when it comes to the Senate (which should happen after their break) for a vote. ACP will be working with ABIM to develop a recertification process that is meaningful to internists in their daily work. Please continue to support ACP as it is working on so many issues that are important to internists. We continue to need active participants in our chapter from all areas of the state. I am including the letter from Dr. Rich Baron about the ABIM's decision to review the MOC.

Dear Dr. Weinberger:

ABIM clearly got it wrong. We launched programs that weren't ready and we didn't deliver an MOC program that physicians found meaningful. We want to change that. Nearly 80 years ago, the American Medical Association and the American College of Physicians founded the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). ABIM was charged with distinguishing the discipline of internal medicine from other forms of practice by creating uniform standards for internists. Those standards have evolved over the years, reflecting the dynamic nature of internal medicine and its more than 20 subspecialties.

A year ago, ABIM changed its once-every-10-years Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program to a more continuous one. This change generated legitimate criticism among internists and medical specialty societies. Some believe ABIM has turned a deaf ear to practicing physicians and has not adequately developed a relevant, meaningful program for them as they strive to keep up to date in their fields.

ABIM is listening and wants to be responsive to your concerns. While ABIM's Board believes that a more-continuous certification helps all of us keep up with the rapidly changing nature of modern medical practice, it is clear that parts of the new program are not meeting the needs of physicians like yourself.

We got it wrong and sincerely apologize. We are sorry.

As a result, ABIM is taking the following steps:

  • Effective immediately, ABIM is suspending the Practice Assessment, Patient Voice and Patient Safety requirements for at least two years. This means that no internist will have his or her certification status changed for not having completed activities in these areas for at least the next two years. Diplomates who are currently not certified but who have satisfied all requirements for Maintenance of Certification except for the Practice Assessment requirement will be issued a new certificate this year.
  • Within the next six months, ABIM will change the language used to publicly report a diplomate's MOC status on its website from "meeting MOC requirements" to participating in MOC."
  • ABIM is updating the Internal Medicine MOC exam. The update will focus on making the exam more reflective of what physicians in practice are doing, with any changes to be incorporated beginning fall 2015, with more subspecialties to follow.
  • MOC enrollment fees will remain at or below the 2014 levels through at least 2017.
  • By the end of 2015, ABIM will assure new and more flexible ways for internists to demonstrate self-assessment of medical knowledge by recognizing most forms of ACCME-approved Continuing Medical Education.

Please visit our FAQ page for more information about these changes. I do want you to know that, since the changes being made are significant, it will take time until your individual status page is updated on the ABIM website.

ABIM is changing the way it does its work so that it is guided by, and integrated fully with, the medical community that created it. However, I know that actions will speak louder than words. Therefore, ABIM will work with medical societies and directly with diplomates to seek input regarding the MOC program through meetings, webinars, forums, online communications channels, surveys and more. The goal is to co-create an MOC program that reflects the medical community's shared values about the practice of medicine today and provides a professionally created and publicly recognizable framework for keeping up in our discipline.

As the first non-academic physician to lead ABIM, I am particularly proud of my 30 years in private, community practice, and I see this letter to you as a start - a new beginning. The ABIM Board of Directors, staff and I are fully committed to doing a better job - to ensure that ABIM and MOC evolve to better reflect the changing nature of medical practice. It remains important for physicians to have publicly recognizable ways - designed by internists - to demonstrate their knowledge of medicine and its practice. Internists are justifiably proud of their knowledge and skills. However, the current MOC program can and should be improved.

Over the next few months, you'll see communication from me and ABIM leadership, asking about your vision for internal medicine, the MOC program and your opinions about what it means to be a doctor today. We have also created "Transforming ABIM", a Google+ Community that you can join, to ask questions and share ideas, and a blog. I have heard you - and ABIM's Board has heard you. We will continue to listen to your concerns and evolve our program to ensure it embodies our shared values as internists.

Thank you for your input and feedback - and for the important clinical work you do each and every day.

Richard J. Baron, MD, MACP
President and Chief Executive Officer
American Board of Internal Medicine


Leadership Day

Leadership Day this year is in Washington DC on May 20 and 21. Our chapter pays for one member to attend this important event. If you are interested in attending this year please let me know as soon as possible.


ACP Excellence in Medical Education

The Internal Medicine Meeting will be held April 30 - May 2 in Boston, MA. Choose from more than 200 CME courses in internal medicine and the subspecialties presented by faculty unsurpassed in their fields. The meeting this year again looks to be excellent. This year marks ACP's 100 year anniversary so there will also be special Centennial events such as a session on the History of Politics in American Medicine and one on the History of ACP. There will be a charitable event (Docs for Socks) which is described in the last article.

The ACP Minnesota Chapter invites all ACP North Dakota Chapter to attend a reception on May 1 while attending the Internal Medicine Meeting:

The Westin Boston Waterfront
6:00PM-8:00PM Commonwealth Ballroom Section B
425 Summer Street
Boston, MA


Internal Medicine Board Review (IMBR) Courses

Prepare to pass the ABIM Board exam in internal medicine with an ACP IMBR Course.

ACP's IMBR courses provide:

  • A comprehensive review of internal medicine that is guided by the blueprint of the ABIM Board exam
  • Interactive case-based studies for an engaging learning experience
  • Tips on test-taking strategies to strengthen your confidence
  • Instruction by a team of expert clinician-educators
  • Guaranteed to prepare you for the ABIM board exam*
  • FREE BONUS: ACP IMBR Flashcards App($99 Value)

Internal Medicine Board Review Courses Dates & Locations



More Info


New Jersey May 27-31, 2015 Learn More Register Now
Greater Chicago May 31 - June 5, 2015 Learn More Register Now
San Antonio June 18-21, 2015 Learn More Register Now
Washington DC July 13-17, 2015 Learn More Register Now
Seattle July 21-25, 2015 Learn More Register Now


Docs for Socks

This year, ACP will be teaming up with Boston Health Care for the Homeless Program (BHCHP) to collect socks and underwear for the homeless. Please consider bringing an unopened pack of new white socks or underwear to donate. BHCHP patients live in shelters, on the streets, and in temporary housing-all while struggling to maintain their health. Clean white socks and underwear is a staple of homeless health care, and you can help make a real difference in the lives of the patients and the quality of care that BHCHP can provide. Donation bins will be available onsite at various locations throughout the meeting. Cash donations will also be accepted onsite in the Physician Registration area.

The ND chapter's ACP scientific meeting will be Friday, October 16, 2015. It will be in Fargo at the UND Fargo Campus. Please mark your calendars now and plan to attend. It is a great opportunity for learning and for networking with internists across the state.

ACP published two evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in Annals of Internal Medicine for the prevention and treatment of bedsores, also called pressure ulcers. Bedsores commonly occur in people with limited mobility, such as those in hospitals or long-term care settings. I am including a link to these guidelines.

The match for residency positions was recently held and the number of U.S. senior medical students choosing internal medicine residencies increased by about 5 percent in 2015. During this time, the number of new internal medicine positions increased by about 4 percent. According to the 2015 National Resident Matching Program, 3,317 U.S. medical school seniors matched for residency training in internal medicine.

ACP recently published two evidence-based clinical practice guidelines in Annals of Internal Medicine for the prevention and treatment of bedsores, also called pressure ulcers. Bedsores commonly occur in people with limited mobility, such as those in hospitals or long-term care settings. The links to the 2 guidelines are below:



In closing, I want to thank all of you again for your support over the last 5 years. As I said earlier I have enjoyed this role in so many ways and have appreciated all ACP is doing for internal medicine. The staff both locally (Pam Heisler) and nationally are wonderful and appreciate resounding thanks from all of us. I hope to see many of you in Boston in April and in Fargo in October at our ND scientific session.

Please extend your support to Dr. Neville Alberto, the new Governor of the ND chapter of ACP.