ABR Executive Leadership Reduces Fees While Maintaining Needed Infrastructure
by Vincent P. Mathews, MD, ABR President
The Board of Governors and the administrative executive staff work together to act as responsible stewards of the ABR’s resources. This stewardship oversees compliance with regulations concerning our status as a 501(c)6, including the performance of an external audit. The Board realizes that expenses must be maintained at levels that are needed to fulfill the mission but is vigilant in trying to keep costs and fees as low as reasonably possible.
Compared with text-based questions, there is extra work in processing and displaying image-based content, inherent in many of the items not only for the initial certification exams but also for Online Longitudinal Assessment (OLA). For diagnostic radiology, we offer levels of customization that allow radiologists to match their practice pattern to the specific material that is part of their assessment. These features require significant resources for information technology and personnel who assist in exam development and imaging optimization. Recent implementation of remote exams has increased expenses; although it is expected that the new models will ultimately be less expensive to administer and maintain, initial development costs have been substantial. Costs related to cybersecurity have increased, as have the expenses needed to maintain a knowledgeable and effective work force in a very competitive employment environment.
The Board has not increased fees since 2016. During that time, inflation has been approximately 14%. We have used reserves to address operating losses (expenses in excess of revenue) for 2020 and expect to do the same in 2021 and 2022. We have changed the re-exam fee to be a one-time charge for all subsequent exam attempts. For one re-exam fee, candidates can retake an exam as many times as necessary until they pass or their board eligibility expires. Beginning in 2022, we will be reducing the fee for diagnostic radiology subspecialty certification (neuroradiology, nuclear radiology, and pediatrics), interventional radiology subspecialty certification (neuroradiology, nuclear radiology, and pediatrics), the total fee for interventional radiology initial certification (integrated and independent), and the re-exam fees for medical physics.
The Board will continue to ask ABR executive leadership to evaluate opportunities to reduce fees while maintaining the infrastructure needed to support a rigorous process of assessment and provide both value and service to our candidates and diplomates.