Common questions about the ABS MOC Program
FAQs - ABS MOC Program
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 3-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.
MOC gives surgeons a program by which they can document their commitment to lifelong learning, assessment 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.
MOC requirements runs in 3-year cycles. After each cycle, diplomates report on how they are meeting MOC requirements by completing an online form, the MOC Status Form. Once you are enrolled in MOC, you can view a personalized MOC Timeline.
The MOC Status Form will be posted on your MOC Timeline toward the end of a 3-year cycle (Dec. 31). The ABS will contact you when you are due to complete it. 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.
The MOC Status Form asks for general information about your medical license, privileges, professional references, CME/self-assessment activities from the past 3 years, and the practice assessment program(s) you are participating in. No paper documentation is required. Once you complete and submit the online form, no further action is required unless you are contacted by the ABS. You will receive an email confirming that your form has been received.
Yes. The MOC Status Form is due on March 1two 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.
The CME activity will provide Category 1 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. A passing score of 75% or higher must be required. See our MOC Part 2 page for more details and resources.
Yes. The ABS will automatically waive 60 credits of Category 1 CME and self-assessment for certification or recertification during a 3-year cycle. This includes the certification or recertification that enrolled you in the ABS MOC Program, which counts toward your first 3-year MOC cycle.
The three-year MOC Status Form contains a section for you to indicate or describe what type of activity you are doing to fulfill the Part 4 requirement (practice assessment). No data is collected. The ABS audits a percentage of these forms each year; if audited, you would need to provide verification of enrollment/participation in a Part 4 program.
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. In addition, some surgical societies have programs for individual surgeons.
If there are no programs available to you, then you should conduct your own practice assessment activityplease see the MOC Part 4 page for further details and resources.
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.
Yes. However, the ABS will waive MOC Part 2 (CME) and Part 4 (practice assessment) requirements for the time in which you were enrolled in fellowship training. Details about the fellowship must be entered on the MOC Status Form. The fellowship must be accredited by the ACGME or a surgical organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., Fellowship Council, SSO, ACS, ASTS), and be at least 12 months in duration. You must still fulfill Parts 2 and 4 for any non-fellowship years/months in your three-year cycle.
Diplomates who no longer operate but still see patients may participate in the ABS MOC Program by fulfilling the requirements in ways relevant to their current activities.
Diplomates who no longer see patients at all (clinically inactive) must meet all MOC requirements except for Part 4, practice assessment. Refer to our Clinically Inactive Policy for more details.
If you are retired and no longer wish to participate in the ABS MOC Program, please contact the MOC coordinator. If you wish, you may complete an MOC Opt-Out Form so that you no longer receive notifications regarding your MOC status.
Once a surgeon is enrolled in MOC, it applies to all certificates a surgeon holds. 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 (CME) and Part 4 (practice assessment) 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 MOC Status Form for Parts 2 and 4. In addition, if you achieved certification or recertification by another ABMS board during a 3-year cycle, you may waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment for that cycle. Diplomates who hold certificates from other ABMS boards should check the other boards' MOC requirements; there is no automatic reciprocity.
If you entered MOC upon certifying or recertifying in general surgery (or any other specialty), 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.
To re-enter the ABS MOC Program, diplomates must fulfill all MOC requirements for any missed cycles and pay an administrative re-entry fee. Please see Re-entry to MOC for further details.
Diplomates who do not report at three-year intervals or otherwise fail to meet MOC requirements will be reported as "Not Meeting MOC Requirements" and will need to complete re-entry requirements if 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 re-entry requirements are met. See Re-entry to MOC for more information.