Clinically Inactive

  • Diplomates who are no longer in clinical practice may register for an MOC (recertification) exam and participate in the ABS MOC Program through the Certified-Clinically Inactive designation. This status is intended for surgeons who are working in an administrative or research setting or similar situation and no longer see patients.
  • These individuals may not be treating patients in any capacity and may not be supervising residents or others in providing patient care.
  • Note: Diplomates who no longer operate but still see patients may register for an MOC exam by submitting alternative material—see FAQs.

MOC Exam Registration

  • To register for an MOC (recertification) exam, a cover letter should be submitted in lieu of the operative experience report with a full description of your current professional activities. You should also address if you have any patient contact, be it inpatient, outpatient, consultative or otherwise, and whether you communicate with patients in any manner, including through email, blogs, other Internet forums, phone, face-to-face, etc. Also note if you make any clinical decisions or recommendations of any kind, including chart review, review or assessments of studies or laboratories, or similar.
  • In place of the two reference forms, two letters should be submitted from supervisors or peers who are familiar with your current activities. The letters should cover the following: Do you interact professionally with the surgeon on a regular basis? Do you have a business or a close personal relationship with this surgeon? Is this surgeon dependable, responsible, honest and ethical? Does this surgeon have acceptable communication and interpersonal skills? Are you aware of any substance abuse? Are you aware of any disciplinary actions taken against the surgeon (e.g., loss or restriction of privileges, license revocation, suspensions, etc.)? Do you recommend, without reservation, this surgeon for recertification?
  • Upon passing the MOC exam, the diplomate will be deemed "Certified-Clinically Inactive" and receive a certificate so stating.

MOC Program

  • Clinically inactive diplomates who wish to participate in MOC must fulfill all parts of the ABS MOC Program except for Part 4 (Evaluation of Performance in Practice). For Part 1 (Professional Standing), they must maintain a full and unrestricted medical license and submit as references the name and contact information of two supervisors or peers familiar with their current status. MOC Part 2 (CME/Self-Assessment) and Part 3 (Secure Exam) must also be fulfilled. These diplomates must complete the online MOC form at three-year intervals and should provide details about their status at that time.
  • Any inquiry received by the ABS as to the diplomate's certification status will specify that he or she is considered Clinically Inactive and that this status is intended only for diplomates who have no involvement in patient management.

Return to Active Practice

  • Clinically inactive diplomates who decide to change their status and return to active practice should first develop a re-entry plan with their institution for approval by the ABS—see Re-entry to Surgical Practice for further details. The diplomate will be required to submit information regarding their return to clinical activity, including plans for monitoring and evaluation during the re-entry process, and fulfill additional requirements based on the surgeon's particular circumstances.

For additional guidance, please contact our MOC coordinator.

Updated: June 2015

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