ABS MOC Requirements

Quick Reference

  • ABS MOC requirements run in 3-year cycles (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). After each cycle, diplomates report on these requirements by completing a brief online form, the MOC Status Form. You will be contacted when the form is due. Check your MOC status anytime at moc.absurgery.org.
  • A secure MOC (recertification) exam is also required at 10-year intervals. Once enrolled in MOC, diplomates must be meeting MOC requirements to certify or recertify in any ABS specialty.
  • For diplomates with multiple ABS certificates, the secure MOC exam is the only requirement that must be repeated for each certificate. Other MOC requirements may be fulfilled in whichever areas are most relevant to your practice.
  • Surgeons who are clinically inactive or no longer operating may still participate in MOC.


Professional Standing - Part 1
  • Medical License
    Valid, full and unrestricted (U.S. or Canada). Diplomates must immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
  • Hospital/Surgical Center Privileges
    If clinically active. If you are clinically inactive or do not otherwise hold privileges, you must provide an explanation on the MOC Status Form.
  • Professional References
    Contact information for the chair of surgery and chair of credentials at the institution where most work is performed, to be entered on the MOC Status Form. If necessary, another physician of comparable rank may be listed. Completed reference forms are also required when registering for the 10-year secure exam.

    If you are clinically inactive or no longer operating, contact information for two supervisors or peers knowledgeable about your current activities is required.

Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment - Part 2
  • Continuing Medical Education (CME)
    Completion of 90 credits of Category 1 CME relevant to your practice over a 3-year MOC cycle. Category 1 CME activities are formal educational experiences such as seminars and skills courses.
  • Self-Assessment
    At least 60 of the 90 CME credits must include self-assessment—a written or electronic question-and-answer exercise that assesses your understanding of the material in the CME program. A score of 75% or higher must be required on the activity; however there is no minimum number of questions required and repeated attempts are allowed.

    The ABS will automatically waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment for achieving ABS certification or recertification. This includes the one that enrolls you in MOC—it counts toward your first three-year cycle. See our Part 2 page for details and resources.

Cognitive Expertise - Part 3
  • Secure Examination
    Successful completion of a secure MOC (recertification) exam in the specialty at approximately 10-year intervals. Diplomates are eligible to first take the exam 3 years before certificate expiration.

    To register for the exam, diplomates must be meeting MOC requirements and submit a 12-month operative log, reference forms, and a registration fee. Surgeons who no longer operate may submit alternative materials. For diplomates who hold multiple ABS certificates, this is the only requirement that must be repeated for each certificate.

Evaluating Performance in Practice - Part 4
  • Practice Assessment
    Ongoing participation in a local, regional or national outcomes registry or quality assessment program relevant to your practice, either individually or through your institution.

    When completing the MOC Status Form after a 3-year cycle, you will describe how you are meeting this requirement—no patient data is collected. See our Part 4 page for more details and resources.

3-Year Reporting

  • At the end of each 3-year cycle, diplomates are required to submit a brief online form, the MOC Status Form, about how they are meeting Parts 1, 2 and 4 of MOC. You will be asked to provide information about your medical license, hospital privileges, professional references, CME activities, and participation in an outcomes registry or quality assessment program. See About 3-Year Reporting for more details.

Audit and Re-entry

  • The ABS audits a percentage of the 3-year cycle submissions each year. If audited, you will be asked to provide documentation of the information you provided on the MOC Status Form. This includes documentation of CME. No patient data is collected.
  • Diplomates who do not reply to an audit, or who otherwise do not meet MOC requirements, will be reported as Not Meeting MOC Requirements. They will also be unable to certify or recertify in any ABS specialty until re-entry requirements are met.

MOC Timeline

  • A personalized MOC Timeline is available to help you track your participation. MOC 3-year cycles run Jan. 1-Dec. 31. If you are not yet in MOC, your first MOC cycle will begin the Jan. 1 following the academic year in which you passed the exam that enrolls you in MOC. For example, if you became certified in Oct. 2015, MOC begins for you as of Jan. 1, 2017. Diplomates who recertify "early" (prior to their certificate's final year of validity) will have an extended timeline with additional years in MOC.

Multiple Certificates

  • Diplomates with multiple ABS certificates do not need to repeat Part 2 (CME/self-assessment) and Part 4 (practice assessment) for each certificate; these requirements may be fulfilled in whichever areas best reflect your practice. Only the secure MOC (recertification) exam must be completed for each certificate you hold. You will report every 3 years according to the timeline of your enrollment in the ABS MOC Program. The reporting does not have to be repeated for other ABS certificates.
  • Diplomates with certificates from other ABMS boards or RCPSC must still report to the ABS every 3 years. Activities completed for MOC programs of other boards or RCPSC that meet ABS requirements may be listed on the MOC Status Form for Part 2 (CME/self-assessment) and Part 4 (practice assessment). 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. Note that other ABMS boards may have different MOC requirements; there is no automatic reciprocity among boards.

    The RCPSC has recognized ABS MOC as equivalent to its MOC program. ABS diplomates who belong to the RCPSC may use the ABS MOC Program to maintain their RCPSC membership.

Other Situations

  • Fellowships: Diplomates in a fellowship are exempt from Part 2 (CME/self-assessment) and Part 4 (practice assessment) requirements during their time in training. To qualify for this waiver, the fellowship must be at least 6 months in duration and accredited by the ACGME or a surgical organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., SSO, ASTS, ACS, Fellowship Council, etc.). Details about the fellowship must be provided on the MOC Status Form after each 3-year cycle.

    Part 2 and Part 4 requirements must be fulfilled for the remainder of the 3-year cycle. CME and self-assessments credits will be prorated based on the remaining years or months in the cycle.

  • Clinically Inactive: Diplomates who no longer see patients may still participate in MOC—see Clinically Inactive Policy. Diplomates who still see patients but no longer operate may participate in MOC by fulfilling the requirements in ways relevant to their current activities.

Refer also to our MOC Program FAQs page. For specific inquiries, please contact the MOC coordinator.

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