MyEMCert – Here’s the Latest Information about ABEM’s New EM Exam Model for Emergency Medicine Recertification Starting in 2021

Ginger Williams, MD, CMOEmergency Medicine, Medical News, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Personal Education, Urgent Care

MyEMCert Explained - Everything you need to know about MyEMCert for Emergency Medicine Recertification

MyEMCert - What is MyEMCert, ABEM's New EM Exam Model for Emergency Medicine Recertification, Coming 2021

Here's the latest information about the MyEMCert program for emergency physician recertification starting in 2021.

This article outlines ABEM's new MyEMCert program, the new EM exam model for emergency medicine recertification starting in 2021. This article contains the latest information about MyEMCert - such as What is MyEMCert? What do I need to know about MyEMCert? And, how to prepare for MyEMCert exam modules?  This article is timely update from our previous rundown of MyEMCert.  As 2021, approaches final changes are being made.  Here's a recap of everything you need to know about MyEMCert.

What is MyEMCert?

MyEMCert will ultimately replace the CONCERT exam and LLSA exam for ABEM recertification.

As the old axiom goes – everyone wants things to be different, but we all hate change.

So it is with recertification for Emergency Medicine.  

Suffice it to say the current model for EM recertification – CONCERT (i.e. CONtinuous CERTification) exam every 10 years; one practice improvement & 4 LLSA (lifelong learning self assessment) exams in each 5 years during that 10-year cycle; and maintaining active medical licensure – is being changed starting in 2021.

The new process is called MyEMCert.  After a few transition years, it ultimately replaces both the familiar LLSA and CONCERT exams.

What's the MyEMCert format?

MyEMCert will be module based.

According to ABEM (American Board of Emergency Medicine), MyEMCert modules are characterized by the following:

  • Eight “presentation-based” modules grouped by content, each with up to 50 questions
    • NOTE: ABEM will provide synopses of key advances as study material.  
    • ~80% of questions relate to the specific topic in the module 
    • ~20% relate to key advances in EM, not necessarily related to the module’s topic. 
  • Topics focus on clinical scenarios based on patient presentation.
    • Your 4 chosen modules can be completed over 5 years in whatever order you choose.
    • Only 3 modules, abdominopelvic; abnormal vital signs and shock; and trauma and bleeding are ready for release in spring 2021 at this point.
    • Answers and rationale will be provided immediately.
  • Modules are “open book”. Exams must be taken by yourself, without collaboration – unfortunately no lifelines or ‘phone-a-friend’ options!
  • You have three (3) opportunities in each year to pass a given module (i.e. you can fail e.g. the abdominopelvic module twice).  After the 3rd unsuccessful attempt, you need to wait until the following year to try that particular module again.
    • NOTE: The three versions of a given module (e.g. abdominopelvic) each year will all be different from one another.

Studying for the modules is encouraged by ABEM for any physician who feels the need to do so.  For example, Med-Challenger is already prepared for MyEMCert - and will reformat all key points into question and answer practice tests for an effective MyEMCert exam review.

MyEMCert Costs

Once you start a 5-year certification cycle, membership fees to ABEM will be paid annually (about $280/year, although as of August 2020 ABEM says the annual fee hasn’t been finalized yet).  This fee will cover your MyEMCert modules.  

ABEM says the annualized cost to physicians over a 10-year period should be less than the current cost (eight (8) LLSA + CONCERT exam = $2790; eight (8) MyEMCert modules= ~$1400).  

MyEMCert Transitions & CME

As your participation in MyEMCert approaches, you will still have annual CME requirements to address in addition to possible LLSA exams. 

The MyEMCert modules are currently being piloted and ABEM is not authorized to provide CME.  They are investigating ways in which to provide CME.

CME is available for recertifying (60 credits) for physicians willing to let ABEM share their information with the American Hospital Association.

The change to MyEMCert appears to be one that will educate and test EM physicians on current topics and practices in emergency medicine, rather than trying to cover a decade of information in a comprehensive (and nerve-wracking) exam. 

However, MyEMCert module material is largely the same covered by the outgoing CONCERT exam.  Modules are just smaller, more frequent and digestible segments of the EM specialty knowledge curriculum.  Online emergency medicine board review products that provide CME are still a great way to earn required CME.

The preparation for MyEMCert modules within resources such as Med-Challenger EM should be instinctive and additive rather than duplicative, given that our recertification will soon be based on both EM core content as well as EM emerging topics.

It also still makes sense to take the LLSA tests just for CME credit on topics highly pertinent to emergency medicine. And who knows - until LLSAs are retired in 2025, the “key advances” section of each MyEMCert Module might draw some of their inspiration from the LLSA readings?  You can practice for these by reading the Med-Challenger LLSA synopsis of each article and taking Med-Challenger practice tests for each.

MyEMCert Modules Sneak Peek

The difficulty for the hands-on, let-me-play-with-the-toy, EM physician is that the portal and educational modules upon which recertification will be based are currently being tested and are not available for general viewing. 

MyEMCert is due to be released in the spring of 2021. It is based on a new form of exam modules. A sneak preview of the first 8 modules can be found on the ABEM website 

When does MyEMCert affect you? It depends on when you recertify.

Based on the date your current certification expires (shown below), you can read what happens the next time you complete recertification requirements.

If your ABEM Certificate Expires in 2020...

YOUR CERTIFICATE EXPIRES IN 2020: 2020 is the last recertification cycle that renews for 10 years after all the familiar prerequisites have been fulfilled before 2020:

2020 (re)certification occurs after completion of:  

  • the CONCERT exam, which must be taken any time during 2016-2020 PLUS
  • LLSA requirement (4 LLSA tests per 5 years for a total of 8 LLSA tests during 2011-2020 PLUS 
  • 2 improvement in medical practice (IMP) activities (1 IMP per 5 years). 
  • NOTE: new for 2020, the CONCERT exam will be an open book, take at home exam.

After recertifying in 2020, the next 10 years (2021-2030) will transition as follows into the MyEMCert program:

  • 2021-2025: 4 LLSA tests PLUS 1 IMP will be required (familiar standard). 
  • 2026-2030: passing 4 MyEMCert modules becomes a new standard that replaces  BOTH the familiar LLSA requirement AND the CONCERT exam that would have normally occurred during the second 5-year period (2026-2030). 1 IMP activity must still be completed (no change to the IMP requirement)..
  • Starting in 2030, the certificate renews for 5 years (2031-2035).
  • Practitioners on this new 5-year cycle must pass 4 MyEMCert modules PLUS complete 1 IMP to recertify every 5 years (no LLSA or CONCERT exam requirements anymore).

----Starting with recertifications due in 2021, each recertification will only renew for 5 years (instead of the former 10 years):

If your ABEM Certificate Expires in 2021...

YOUR CERTIFICATION EXPIRES IN 2021: 2021 is the first recertification cycle that will renew for 5 instead of 10 years. In order to transition from the former 10-year certification cycle to the new 5-year MyEMCert program, some retroactive changes take place:

  • Unchanged IMP Activity:
    • You must complete 1 IMP activity each per 5 years (for a total of 2 IMP activities during the current 10-year cycle).
  • Changed LLSA requirements
    • 2012 – 2016:  the first 4 LLSA exams 
    • 2017-2021: the second 4 LLSA exam requirement is waived (new standard). Practitioners who have already taken some of the waived 2017-2021 LLSA exams may request a refund that can be applied towards the cost of their future MyEMCert certification. They retain their LLSA CME credits.
  • CONCERT exam no longer mandatory: Practitioners may choose between taking 
    • EITHER
      • the CONCERT exam (open book, take at home, as in 2020, ~190 questions)
    • OR 
      • 4 MyEMCert modules (~50 questions/module; after their release in Spring 2021, all 4 modules would have to be completed during year 2021 in lieu of the CONCERT exam). 
    • In 2021, your certificate for the first time renews for 5 years (2022-2026) instead of the former 10 years.
  • Practitioners entering the new 5-year cycle (2022 - 2026) must pass 4 MyEMCert modules PLUS complete 1 IMP during those 5 years in order to recertify at the end of each 5-year period (no LLSA or CONCERT exam requirements).
  • NOTE: per communication with ABEM, the waiving of the second 5-year LLSA requirement is planned to be valid for practitioners starting with certifications expiring in 2021, whether the practitioner chooses to take the CONCERT exam or the 4 MyEMCert modules. This topic is in flux - click on Check ABEM Continuing Certification Requirements and enter your recertification year to see your most current personal requirements.
  • NOTE: Practitioners whose certification expires in 2020 are the last ones to receive a new 10-year certification. For all certificates that expire AFTER 2020, taking the CONCERT exam early in 2020 (not that anyone would want to do that...) will NOT result in an extra 10-year certification instead of the new 5-year certificate.
  • NOTE: LLSA exams will be discontinued after 2025.

If your ABEM Certificate Expires in 2022...

YOUR CERTIFICATION EXPIRES IN 2022: this cohort has the same requirements (adjusted, of course, for appropriate years) as those with certifications that expire in 2021. Read the above 2021 requirements and adjust for your 10-year cycle.

If your ABEM Certificate Expires in 2023-2026...

YOUR CERTIFICATION EXPIRES IN 2023 - 2026: these cohorts have the same requirements (adjusted, of course, for appropriate years) as those with certifications that expire in 2021. Read the above 2021 requirements and adjust for your 10-year cycle EXCEPT:

  • CONCERT exam will be discontinued after 2022.
  • Starting in 2023, there will no longer be a CONCERT EXAM offered during your last year of your 10-year certification cycle. You must therefore plan ahead to:
    • EITHER 
      • pass 4 MyEMCert  modules PLUS complete 1 IMP during your second 5-year block of your current 10-year certification cycle (e.g. during 2019-2023 if your certification expires in 2023),
    • OR 
      • take the CONCERT exam EARLY up until 2022 during the second 5-year block of your expiring 10-year certification. Taking the CONCERT exam early does NOT change the expiration year of your current 10-year certificate since the CONCERT exam can be taken any time during the second 5 years of your 10-year certification cycle. 
  • See the details described under year 2021 for the changed LLSA and unchanged IMP requirements.

If your ABEM Certificate Expires in 2027-2030...

YOUR CERTIFICATION EXPIRES IN 2027 - 2030: these cohorts have the same requirements (adjusted, of course, for appropriate years) as those with certifications that expire in 2021 Read the above 2021 requirements and adjust for your 10-year cycle EXCEPT:

  • CONCERT exam is not available to this group
    • Starting with certifications that expires in 2027, the only choice for staying certified is to complete 4 MyEMCert modules during the second 5-year block of the expiring 10-year certification (e.g. if your certificate expires in 2023, complete 4 LLSAs during 2014 - 2018 and 4 MyEMCert modules during 2019-2023). 
    • Note: those expiring in 2030 are those described above under 2020 recertification. 
  • See the details described under year 2021 for the changed LLSA and unchanged IMP requirements.

MyEMCert Summarized...

  1. The 1 IMP activity/5 years requirement is unchanged (practitioners with a 10-year certificate need to complete 2 IMPs).
  2. Starting in 2021, (re)certification will occur every 5 years instead of every 10 years and will require passing 4 MyEMCert modules PLUS completing 1 IMP. 
  3. The new 5-year certificates do not have an LLSA or CONCERT exam requirement.
  4. There is a transition period from the current 10-year to the new 5-year certificates that will be completed by 2030.
  5. During the transition phase, cohorts with current 10-year certifications that expire in 2021-2026 will be given a choice to recertify EITHER via the familiar CONCERT exam (about 190 questions)  OR 4 MyEMCert modules (about 50 questions/module). Either way, their new certificate will be for 5 years. 
  6. Since the CONCERT exam will be retired after 2022, those expiring in 2023-2026 would have to take the CONCERT exam early if they choose to NOT pursue the MyEMCert path.
  7. Since the MyEMCert modules will only be available starting Spring 2021, those with 10-year certificates that expire in 2021 - 2024 will have less than 5 years to complete the 4 MyEMCert modules if they choose this path instead of the CONCERT exam.

Resources like Med-Challenger will keep pace with these changes and provide study materials and practice tests for the LLSA readings, CONCERT exam, and the new MyEMCert modules (incl. the key advances sections).

How to Prepare for ABEM Recertification - no matter what.

Now that you know when to prepare for MyEMCert modules, what's the best way to prepare until then - and after you've entered MyEMCert?  Try Med-Challenger.  Med-Challenger was the first provider of LLSA module review back at its inception in 2004.  Med-Challenger is already planning MyEMCert module review components under the guidance of ABEM-certified EM physicians.  Any current ConCert EM or LLSA package will transition along with MyEMCert.

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About the authors:

Ginger Williams, MD served as President and CEO of Oaklawn Hospital from January 2013 through August 2018 after having served as its first Chief Medical Officer since March 2005. Prior to that, Dr. Williams served as Oaklawn’s Medical Director of the Emergency Department, Vice Chief of Staff, and Emergency Department attending physician. She earned her undergraduate degree at the University of Wisconsin and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at Michigan State University. Since then, Dr. Williams has earned a Masters in Medical Management from Carnegie Mellon University. She is a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives and has sat on its Great Lakes Chapter Board of Directors.

Andrea Eberly, MD, FAAEM graduated from the David Geffen Medical School of Los Angeles (UCLA) and completed her residency in Emergency Medicine at the University Medical Center, Tucson, Arizona. After working as an attending physician in Tucson, she followed a recruiting call to the island of Guam, where she served in various roles, including as the director of the emergency department, the EMS Medical Director of Guam, and the Director of the 911 Call System. She has maintained her emergency medicine board certification through three cycles of American Board of Emergency Medicine Board Exams (last in 2014), all three with the help of Med-Challenger.

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