Initial Certification for Interventional Radiology

IR/DR Certificate Conversion

Last verified on May 14, 2019
On October 15, 2017, the first initial certifying exams in interventional radiology/diagnostic radiology (IR/DR) were administered. On this day, the ABR’s subspecialty certificate in vascular and interventional radiology (VIR) was sunsetted and can no longer be maintained. Qualified interventional radiologists were issued a new board certificate that reflects their unique stature as IRs and their singular role in treating and managing patients through image-guided interventions.
Because this is a major change in certification, diplomates were asked to take action by October 1, 2017 to either:
  • confirm their decision to convert their DR and VIR certificates to the new IR/DR specialty certificate, or
  • opt out of the conversion and keep only their DR certificate.
Unless a diplomate opted out, this change in certificate status automatically occured on October 15, 2017.  After October 1, the ABR followed up with diplomates who did not made a choice to convert or opt out to ensure the changes that were made to their certification on October 15, 2017, were intentional.
After October 15, 2017, VIR subspecialty certificates could no longer be maintained. The new continuous IR/DR certificate is maintained through meeting MOC requirements related to the IR portion of the certificate ONLY. Diplomates are not required to maintain both DR and IR portions, nor are they charged any additional MOC fees.
Other ABR subspecialty certificates–including pediatric radiology, neuroradiology, and nuclear radiology, as well as hospice and palliative medicine and pain medicine–were not affected by this change.
Lifetime DR certificate holders who chose to convert to the continuous IR/DR certificate did not lose their lifetime certificate. They could request to drop the IR portion of their certificate at any time, and they were issued a new DR lifetime certificate.
The ABR prepared a memo to credentialers, hospitals, payers, and other stakeholders outlining the changes to IR certification and the impact on existing DR and VIR subspecialty certificates. For more information and to download the memo, go to the Credentialers and Practices page.
For answers to additional questions, please see the IR/DR Certificate Conversion FAQs.