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 and assessment. The ABS MOC Program draws on many activities diplomates are already doing, such as CME, while giving them the opportunity to formally demonstrate their commitment to lifelong learning and practice improvement.
- MOC is a program developed by surgeons for surgeons. The ABS is working with specialty surgical organizations to ensure MOC is relevant to all practice areas. 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 applied in 2013 to have its MOC program be approved by CMS for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) MOC Incentive. The ABS will communicate with diplomates as this effort progresses. More information about the PQRS MOC Incentive is available from the CMS website.
How Does it Work?Diplomates begin MOC once they certify or recertify in any ABS specialty after July 1, 2005. Until this occurs, the traditional recertification requirements for that specialty apply (see the respective recertification examination for details). MOC requirements run in three-year cycles, from July 1 to June 30. At the end of a cycle, diplomates report to the ABS about their MOC activities by completing an online form. A secure recertification examination continues to be 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 information.
Why Now?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.
- MOC consists of four parts designed to assess physician competencies on a continuous basis:
- Part 1 - Professional standing through maintenance of an unrestricted medical license, hospital privileges and satisfactory references
- Part 2 - Lifelong learning and self-assessment through continuing education and periodic self-assessment
- Part 3 - Cognitive expertise based on performance on a secure examination
- Part 4 - Evaluation of performance in practice through participation in outcome registries and quality improvement programs
Staying in ContactThe ABS will keep diplomates informed about MOC through its newsletters and e-mail updates, and will contact diplomates individually when submission of information is due. Please keep your contact information current through My Records/My Account.
Updated: January 2013