It's been a busy time over at the American Board of Anesthesiology headquarters. Besides the changes to MOCA recertification requirements, they have also altered how anesthesia residents will be board certified in the first place. Previously an anesthesiologist takes his written, or Part 1, exam shortly after finishing his residency. Once that has been successfully passed, he then takes the dreaded oral, or Part 2, examination. When both exams are completed, voila, another board certified anesthesiologist is christened into the world.
But the ABA has now changed the paradigm. Starting with the CA-1 class beginning July, 2013, the written exam has been split into two parts. The Basic exam will be administered during residency training. This is followed by an Advanced exam taken after residency before moving on to the oral exam. The trick is that the Basic exam has to be successfully passed within two attempts or the resident will be deemed incompetent and will not be allowed to graduate. Thus he could be stuck in anesthesia residency for four or five years if he were so unlucky.
This places extraordinary pressure on already overworked residents. In my time, many of us graduated residency then took a couple of weeks off from work to prepare for our Part 1 exam. Some people even delayed taking the test for a year or more. This only delayed their board certification but they were still able to practice during that time as a "board eligible" anesthesiologist. Now these poor residents can't even get to the starting gate of their careers unless they pass this test. The sadists at the ABA know no bounds.