Maintenance of Certification (MOC) - Overview
What is MOC?
- Maintenance of Certification is a continuous professional development program created by the ABS and the other 23 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). MOC goes beyond traditional recertification to a process of ongoing learning, assessment and improvement throughout a surgeon's career.
- ABS MOC is a program developed by surgeons for surgeons. It draws on many activities diplomates are already doing, such as CME, while giving you the opportunity to formally demonstrate your commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement. The ABS is also working with specialty surgical organizations to ensure MOC is relevant to all practice areas.
- The ABS is also coordinating its MOC requirements with those of other regulatory groups. The Federation of State Medical Boards has recognized MOC as satisfying Maintenance of Licensure (MOL). The ABS is also working with health insurers to gain recognition for diplomates participating in MOC.
PQRS MOC Incentive: The ABS has been approved by CMS for the 2013 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) MOC Incentive. Please see our PQRS MOC Incentive page for details.
How Does it Work?
- Diplomates begin MOC once they certify or recertify in any ABS specialty after July 2005. Until this occurs, the traditional recertification requirements apply (see the respective recertification examination for details). MOC requirements run in three-year cycles, from July 1 to June 30. After the end of a cycle, diplomates report about their MOC activities by completing an online form. A secure recertification exam is also required at 10-year intervals. For diplomates who hold more than one certificate, only the secure exam must be repeated for each specialty.
- See MOC Requirements for more details. For quick reference, print this one-page summary (pdf).
- Board certification is considered to be the gold standard in assuring a surgeon has acquired and is sustaining a certain level of knowledge, skill and professionalism. MOC will ensure that board certification remains a recognized, surgeon-defined, standard of excellence. MOC will provide diplomates with greater opportunities for learning and assessment, while giving patients further assurance that an ABS-certified surgeon is providing safe, effective care.
Staying in Contact
- The ABS will keep diplomates informed about MOC through its newsletters and e-mail updates, and will contact you directly by mail and e-mail when submission of information is due. Please keep your contact information up to date through My Records/My Account.
Updated: November 2013