This policy defines the information communicated to the public by the American Board of Surgery regarding applicants and diplomates.
The ABS considers the personal information and examination record of an applicant or diplomate to be private and confidential. When an inquiry regarding an individual's status is received, a general statement is provided indicating the person's current situation in regard to ABS certification, along with his or her certification history.
Current Certification Status
The current standing of an individual with the ABS will be reported using one of two designations:
Certified: The individual is currently certified by the ABS.
Not Certified: The individual is not currently certified by the ABS. Such individuals may have allowed their time-limited certificate to expire, were admitted to the certification process but never became certified, were never admitted, or never applied.
The following terms may also be listed if applicable to the individual's current situation.
In the Examination Process: The individual has an approved application/registration for certification or recertification and has not yet passed the required examinations, but has remaining examination opportunities.
Clinically Inactive: The individual is certified by the ABS with the understanding that he or she is not actively participating in any patient management, either directly or in a supervisory capacity. This status is intended for individuals who are completely retired, working in an administrative or research capacity, or similar situation and do not treat patients or hold hospital privileges (see this page for more details).
Suspended: The individual is not certified as his or her certificate has been indefinitely suspended. The certificate may be reinstated if certain requirements are met.
Revoked: The individual is not certified as his or her certificate has been permanently revoked.
The ABS will also indicate whether an individual is meeting the requirements of the ABS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. The ABS will report MOC status using three different designations:
Meeting MOC Requirements: Individual is enrolled in the ABS MOC Program and in compliance with its requirements.
Not Meeting MOC Requirements: Individual is enrolled in the ABS MOC Program and not in compliance with its requirements.
Not Required to Participate in MOC: Individual is not enrolled in the ABS MOC Program.
ABS diplomates are automatically enrolled in the ABS MOC Program upon certification or recertification after July 2005. Once enrolled, MOC applies to all certificates a surgeon holds. Surgeons must be in compliance with MOC to certify or recertify in any ABS specialty.
An individual's certification history will also be reported, with all successful certifications and recertifications and their relevant start and end dates. Current ABS policy is that all certificates are valid only for a period of ten years, beginning with the date of issuance and extending through December 31 (formerly July 1) of the year of expiration.
In 2014, the ABS shifted its certificates from the academic year to the calendar year. All current ABS certificates now expire on December 31. Full Announcement
The ABS supplies biographical and demographic data on diplomates to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) for its online directory of board-certified phyisicans. Upon certification or recertification, diplomates will be contacted by the ABMS to specify which information they would like to appear in the directory. Diplomates will have their listings retained in the directory only if they maintain their certification according to the ABS MOC Program. Note there may be a lag between the ABS' real-time data (see Check a Certification) and what is displayed on the ABMS website.