ABU adopts new policies on expert witnesses, expired certificates, more

Nov 01, 2010

The American Board of Urology has adopted several new policies in areas such as expert witnesses in medical liability cases and expired/revoked certificates.

The American Board of Urology has adopted several new policies in areas such as expert witnesses in medical liability cases and expired/revoked certificates.

Expert witness

The expert witness policy states that a trustee shall not be allowed to serve as an expert witness (for either plaintiff or defendant) in medical liability cases while a trustee of the board. The policy applies to new cases (after term of service on board commences), and will not apply to providing medical testimony for a trustee’s own patients.

Expired or revoked certificates

Diplomates who are candidates for recertification can take the recertification examination in year 7, 8, or 9. Candidates who fail to pass the examination by the end of year 9 will lose their certificate upon its February expiration. The candidate then has 2 grace years during which time he/she can apply to take the recertification exam another two times (year 10 and 11); if the candidate passes the recertification examination in the 10th year, the certificate is returned. In the 11th year, but not in the 10th year, the candidate must submit a new log. If the candidate fails in year 11, he/she will have to repeat the entire certification process again in order to obtain a certificate.

For diplomates who let their certificate lapse (due to not taking the recertification examination) and individuals who have had their certificate revoked: Individuals who are within 5 years of active practice are allowed two attempts to pass the recertification examination during a consecutive 2-year period. They also must have an active medical license, peer review, pay a $1,500 fee, submit a log, and have a total of 150 urology-focused CME credits since the time of lapse or revocation. At least 90 of the urology-focused CME credits must have been obtained in the year prior to taking the recertification examination. If the applicant has not been in practice for over 5 years, then the applicant is no longer eligible to take the recertification examination and will need to repeat the entire certification process in order to obtain a certificate.

Changes in the recertification examination format

The format of the ABU recertification examination will change beginning in 2011. The examination will continue to be a 4-hour, proctored, computerized examination administered annually at nearly 200 Pearson VUE testing centers located throughout the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico in October each year.

The examination will no longer consist of five modules covering the domains of urology (three of which had been selected by the candidate). It will be replaced by a 100-question examination covering the domains of urology, with very few pediatric urology questions. Pediatric questions remaining on the examination will relate to very common pediatric conditions. Statistics from past examinations show that with the exception of the pediatric module, which very few examinees except pediatric urologists select, candidates select nearly equally from the other four modules.

The rationale for the change in format is to provide consistency with other ABU examinations, increase the statistical psychometric validity of the examination, address the numerous complaints from diplomates regarding the verification of which modules they selected on the examination, and eliminate concerns expressed by many diplomates regarding whether the modules they selected were the ones that were scored.

Trustee conflict of interest statements

Beginning in 2011, the ABU will post its trustees’ conflict of interest (COI) statements on the ABU Web site. The policy requiring trustees to submit annual, updated COI statements was approved at the 2010 summer meeting of the board. The ABU executive committee will oversee and manage potential conflicts of sitting trustees.

Reporting of MOC status

The American Board of Medical Specialties has mandated that all ABMS member boards report the status of their diplomates to the ABMS by 2011. The ABU will be required to transmit its diplomates’ certification status, clinical status (active, inactive or unknown), and participation in maintenance of certification (MOC) to ABMS for publication in its online directory.