Published 3/1/2010
Terry Stanton

MOC exam to include imaging

By Terry Stanton

ABOS to add imaging component to certification exams

In an initiative that parallels the decision by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to require accreditation of advanced imaging facilities, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) is adding a content domain comprising basic and advanced musculoskeletal imaging to its examinations. The new component will appear in the 2010 certifying exam and in the 2011 recertifying exam.

This addition to the scope of certification reinforces the position that orthopaedic surgeons routinely and competently interpret images and deserve to be compensated for that work, said Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD, executive director of ABOS. ABOS is drafting a statement for submission to CMS “that will say that a specific percentage of the average orthopaedist’s practice is based on basic and advanced imaging interpretation. By practice, orthopaedic surgeons must be experts in interpreting musculoskeletal imaging studies and we will be certifying that in our examination process.”

The inclusion of imaging will be helpful to orthopaedic surgeons seeking local credentials and in receiving payment “from carriers who are now denying professional component payments to nonradiologists,” Dr. Hurwitz said. “Some payors may accept this, some may not. But at least we’ll be able to show that orthopaedists are doing the best job they can based upon their own competent interpretation of the imaging studies. Orthopaedists are the radiology specialists for most of what they do.”

As a result of this addition,orthopaedic surgeons “will get recognition from CMS, from healthcare systems that credential and privilege orthopaedic surgeons, and from payors. That’s the ultimate goal,” he concluded.

Terry Stanton is the senior science writer for AAOS Now. He can be reached at tstanton@aaos.org