New specialists will have to maintain certification

Published on July 13, 2011
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New diplomates of all veterinary specialty organizations will have to take steps to maintain their certification, starting in 2016.

Surgeons in an operating roomWhile meeting June 5-7, the AVMA Executive Board approved the new requirement and other revisions to the policies of the AVMA American Board of Veterinary Specialties.

The criteria for AVMA recognition of veterinary specialty organizations now include having a mandatory program for maintenance of certification, beginning no later than 2016. Specialty organizations will have to date new diplomates' certificates, determine actions for new diplomates to maintain certification, and implement an evaluation process to ensure compliance.

Per the new ABVS policies, each specialty organization will develop its own standards and protocol for maintenance of certification. An organization may use an examination for maintenance of certification, for example, or use a system by which diplomates earn points in a variety of ways—such as attending continuing education seminars or presentations, publishing articles, or serving on examination committees.

Specialty organizations will have to evaluate diplomates for maintenance of certification at least every 10 years. An honor system for diplomate compliance is acceptable if the specialty organization performs random audits of compliance.

A specialty organization that creates a new program for maintenance of certification cannot require existing diplomates to complete the program, but the ABVS policies encourage specialty organizations to initiate systems for voluntary replacement of undated certificates with dated certificates that require maintenance.

Another revision to the ABVS policies is an addition to the guidelines for establishment of new veterinary specialty organizations and veterinary specialties. The ABVS policies now state that the organizing committee for a new veterinary specialty organization should have no fewer than 16 members, and the organizing committee for a new veterinary specialty should have no fewer than eight members.