Beginning in 2018, those doctors who became certified, recertified, or subspecialty certified will enter a process of Life Long Learning (LLL). The Life Long Learning Program is designed to evaluate the continued competence of a Diplomate.
The Life Long Learning Program is a continual developing process and thus the requirements may change as mandated by the ABMS.
All subspecialty certificates issued by the American Board of Urology are time limited and subject to the Life Long Learning Program (LLL). They are valid for 10 years only and will expire on the anniversary of the date of issue.
Diplomates who were originally certified before 1985 and have time unlimited certificates will maintain those certificates as time unlimited. However, if the Diplomate also earns a subspecialty certificate, the Diplomate will enter the LLL process which includes the subspecialty and general certificate.
Diplomates who were originally certified in 1985 or later have time-limited certificates. If a Diplomate also earns a subspecialty certificate, the original urology certificate will be extended to have the same expiration date as the subspecialty certificate. The Diplomate will enter the Life Long Learning Program as of completion of subspecialty certification, and will be required to complete all components on that timeline.
The LLL process will extend over a ten year period, with requirements in the program to be completed at year 2 through 5 (Level 1) and year 7, 8 or 9 (Level 2) of a diplomates ten year certification cycle. A chart showing the requirements appears on the last page of the Life Long Learning handbook. Life Long Learning will be integrated into the current recertification process. Diplomates will be required to complete self-assessment programs developed by the Board, meet continuing medical education requirements, and submit practice logs at Level 2 as part of this process. Successful completion of an knowledge assessment will be required within the three year period prior to expiration of the Diplomate’s certification.
Schedule and Fees:
In 2009, the Board implemented a $200 Annual Certificate Fee to streamline and replace all Recertification and Life Long Learning (LLL) fees. The Annual Certificate Fee, payable by April 1, is charged to every ABU Diplomate who certified after 1985.
Application documents for Life Long Learning Level 2 can be accessed via the ABU Diplomate Portal: https://portal.abu.org
The knowledge assessment portion of the Life Long Learning Program will not be used as a primary single metric that influences certificate status but rather to help the diplomate to identify those areas of strength versus weakness in their medical knowledge, knowledge that is pertinent to their practice. To that end we will continue the modular format for the Life Long Learning knowledge assessment. The knowledge assessment will be based on Criterion referencing, thus allowing the identification of two groups, those who unconditionally pass the knowledge assessment and those who are given a conditional pass. The group getting a conditional pass will consist of those individuals who score in the band of one standard error of measurement above the pass point down to the lowest score. That group would be required to complete additional CME in the areas where they demonstrate low scores. After completion of the designated CME activity, they would continue in the Life Long Learning process and the condition of their pass would be lifted.
We ask and strongly suggest that the LLL Knowledge Assessment be done at year 7 of the 10-year cycle. This allows ample time for remediation to be accomplished when assigned. While during the integration years of this new scoring paradigm we have been liberal with the issuance of variances to keep certificates from expiring while remediation is accomplished. However, going forward we will not have the flexibility and thus delaying taking the Knowledge Assessment into years 8 or particularly 9 may turn the assessment into a result that is binary and thus “high stakes.” Please keep in mind that the goal of the ABU with using the Knowledge Assessment scoring paradigm is to assist our Diplomates with identifying their knowledge gaps and not to have an adverse effect on their certification. Those electing to not take advantage of the three opportunities to take the knowledge assessment would risk the possibility of their certificates expiring before the knowledge assessment is either unconditionally passed or conditionally passed with the conditions lifted on completing the assigned CME.
Diplomates who are not in the active practice of clinical urology may apply for Clinically-Inactive status. Clinically-Inactive status is time-limited and subject to Life Long Learning (LLL). In order to obtain this status, Diplomates must certify non-practicing clinical urology, or very minimal clinical exposure, and must submit acceptable justification and documentation for such status. The designation of Clinically-Inactive status can be granted until certification expiration, or up to ten years. Life Long Learning for the Clinically-Inactive Diplomate requires completion of all LLL components except the practice log, peer review and the patient portion of the PAP. Clinically-Inactive Diplomates must complete the Guideline portion of a PAP. Fees and deadlines remain the same as for clinically-active Diplomates. All components of LLL must be completed on the specified timeline and all fees must be current for the Diplomate’s certificate to remain active.
Extension of Clinically-Inactive status beyond ten years is a variance requiring approval of the Board. Approaching expiration, the Diplomate may apply for recertification and up to 5 additional years of clinical inactivity. If granted, this extension is renewable. At the completion of the period of clinical inactivity, the Board will determine permissibility of the application and criteria for re-entry based upon the Diplomate’s situation and prior clinical activity.
The Clinically-Inactive Diplomate who wishes to revert to active status should contact the Board in writing to apply. A six-month practice log must be submitted within 18 months following resumption of clinical urology practice. Upon approval of this practice log, the Diplomate’s designation will return to active status.