MOC Q & A

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1) When do I begin MOC?
Diplomates are automatically enrolled in MOC once they certify or recertify in any ABS specialty after July 2005. MOC is a voluntary process, required only if diplomates wish to maintain their status with the ABS. MOC runs in three-year cycles. Your first MOC cycle will begin the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which you passed the exam that enrolled you in MOC.

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2) Why should I participate in MOC?
MOC gives surgeons a program by which they can document their commitment to lifelong learning, assessment and improvement. MOC goes beyond traditional recertification at 10-year intervals to an ongoing process of learning and improvement. Participation in MOC demonstrates that a diplomate is making a concerted effort to sustain and improve the quality of care he or she delivers.

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3) How will I know when to submit something?
MOC requirements runs in three-year cycles. Diplomates report on their MOC activities after each cycle by completing an online form. Once you are enrolled in MOC, you can view a personalized MOC Timeline.

The online MOC Status Form will be posted on your MOC Timeline toward the end of a three-year cycle (Jan. 1-Dec. 31)—the ABS will contact you once it is available. The form must be completed by March 1. In addition, a secure exam is required at 10-year intervals. Please make sure to keep your contact information with us up to date.

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4) What information is required for the MOC Status Form?
The MOC Status Form asks for information about your medical license, privileges, professional references, CME/self-assessment activities from the past three years, and which practice assessment program(s) you are participating in. No operative data is required, nor any paper documentation. Once you complete and submit the online form, no further action is required unless you are contacted by the ABS. You will receive an e-mail confirming that your form has been received.

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5) With the change to the calendar year, can I still use CME completed after July 1?
Yes. While we have shifted everyone's MOC Timeline and three-year cycles ahead six months to run from Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, CME completed based on the former timeline of July 1 to June 30 may still be used.

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6) Can I use the two months before the online form is due to catch up on CME?
Yes. The MOC Status Form is due on March 1—two months after the end of a three-year cycle. You may use those two months to catch up on the required CME if necessary. However, you may not count that CME again when your next three-year reporting is due.

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7) How do I know if my CME activity qualifies as self-assessment?
The CME activity will provide Category I credits and use a written or electronic question-and-answer exercise to assess your understanding of the material presented. The CME credits are generally not awarded until a test or quiz is submitted. The ABS requires a score of 75% or higher for the activity to count as self-assessment. See our MOC Part 2 page for more details and resources.

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8) Does certification or recertification count toward MOC?
Yes. The ABS will waive 60 hours of Category I CME and self-assessment for certification or recertification during a three-year cycle. This includes the certification or recertification that enrolled you in the ABS MOC Program, which counts toward your first three-year MOC cycle.

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9) Do I need to submit evidence of participation for Part 4?
No; only if you are contacted by the ABS. The three-year MOC Status Form contains a section for you to indicate or describe which activity you are doing to fulfill the Part 4 requirement. No evidence of participation or operative data is required at that time. However the ABS will contact some diplomates to verify the information submitted on their form.

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10) I'm in solo practice. How do I fulfill Part 4 of MOC?
Many outcomes tracking and quality assessment programs are hospital-based, so you should first check with your hospital to see if any such programs are available to you. If there are no hospital-based or other programs available, then you should conduct your own practice assessment activity—please see the MOC Part 4 page for further details and resources.

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11) Are there fees to participate in MOC?
The only fees required for MOC are the application and exam fees required to take the MOC exam (Part 3). However if you do not participate in MOC and then decide to re-enter the ABS MOC Program at a later time, re-entry fees will apply.

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12) I recently became certified and am currently in a fellowship. Does MOC apply to me?
Yes. However, the ABS will waive MOC Part 2 and Part 4 requirements for the year(s) in which you were enrolled in fellowship training. Details about the fellowship must be entered into MOC form. Fellowships must be accredited by the ACGME or a surgical organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., SSO, Fellowship Council), and be at least 27 weeks (per year) in duration. You must still fulfill Parts 2 and 4 for any non-fellowship years in your three-year cycle.

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13) I am no longer in active practice. What should I do?
Diplomates who are no longer clinically active but wish to maintain their certification should complete the MOC Status Form at three-year intervals and provide details about their activities at that time. For Part 1, they must maintain a full and unrestricted medical license and submit as references the names of two supervisors or peers. Parts 2 and 3 of MOC must also be fulfilled, but not Part 4, practice assessment. See also Clinically Inactive Policy.

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14) What if I hold multiple certificates?
You should report to the ABS every three years according to the timeline of your enrollment in the ABS MOC Program. The reporting does not have to be repeated for your other ABS certificates. The Part 2 and Part 4 requirements should be completed in whichever areas best reflect your practice. Only the MOC exam (Part 3) must be completed for each certificate you hold.

Activities completed for the MOC programs of other ABMS boards or RCPSC that meet ABS requirements may be listed on the ABS MOC form for Parts 2 and 4. Diplomates who hold certificates from other ABMS boards should check the other boards' MOC requirements; there is no automatic reciprocity among boards.

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15) I do not intend to maintain my general surgery certificate—do I still need to do MOC?
If you entered MOC upon certifying or recertifying in general surgery, you must be current in meeting ABS MOC requirements to certify or recertify in another ABS specialty. However, once that is achieved, you do not have to take the MOC exam in general surgery if you do not wish to maintain your general surgery certificate.

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16) I missed reporting my MOC. What do I have to do to get back on track?
To re-enter MOC in the first year of noncompliance, diplomates must: (1) fulfill all MOC requirements up to that point; (2) complete an additional 30 hours of Category I CME with self-assessment; (3) pay an administrative fee of $300. Requirements and fees increase with additional years of noncompliance—please see the MOC Re-entry Policy for further details.

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17) If I don't participate in MOC, what will happen?
Diplomates who do not report at three-year intervals or otherwise fail to fulfill MOC requirements will be reported as "Not Meeting MOC Requirements" and will face additional requirements should they wish to re-enter MOC at a later time. They also are ineligible to certify or recertify in any ABS specialty until all MOC requirements are met. See our MOC Re-entry Policy for more information.

For specific MOC inquiries, please contact the MOC coordinator.

Updated: June 2014

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