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News from the American Board of Surgery

Update on ABS MOC Program

The ABS, consisting of directors from both academic and community surgery, recently reaffirmed our commitment to the ABS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program, and defined a set of guiding principles for the program's continued development. These principles outline our duty to the public and to the specialty, as well as our commitment to developing a reasonable yet meaningful program that ensures ABS certification remains a recognized, surgeon-defined standard of quality.

Participation in MOC documents to the public and the medical community the ongoing commitment of surgeons to lifelong learning and quality patient care. We are proud to note that 92% of diplomates are meeting the requirements of the ABS MOC Program.

We have also established steps for obtaining diplomates' feedback to inform future decisions regarding our MOC program. An online survey is currently being sent to a cross-section of ABS diplomates. In addition, we will be participating in the Rural Surgeons Forum at the American College of Surgeons' Clinical Congress in Washington, D.C., on Oct. 18. We also invite feedback via email from diplomates with suggestions on how the ABS MOC Program can be improved. Full Announcement


Taylor Elected Vice Chair

Dr. TaylorDr. Spence M. Taylor has been elected vice chair of the ABS for 2017-2018. He will serve as chair in 2018-2019, following current ABS chair Dr. John G. Hunter and vice chair Dr. Mary E. Klingensmith.

A native of Greenville, South Carolina, Dr. Taylor is president of the Greenville Health System. He is also professor of surgery and the founding senior associate dean of academic affairs and diversity for the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in Greenville. Dr. Taylor joined the ABS as a director in 2011 representing the Southern Surgical Association. He serves as chair of the ABS General Surgery MOC Exam Committee, and is also a member of the Vascular Surgery Board and Credentials Committee. He is certified by the ABS in general surgery and vascular surgery, and was previously certified in surgical critical care.

Dr. Taylor completed medical school and general surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina, and a vascular surgery fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine. He is a past president of the Southern Surgical Association and the Southern Association for Vascular Surgery.


Still Time to Apply for General Surgery MOC Exam

There is still time to apply for this year's General Surgery MOC (Recertification) Exam, to be held Nov. 28 to Dec. 14 at Pearson Vue testing centers. Remaining application deadlines are Sept. 1, Oct. 3, and Nov. 1. Diplomates are eligible to take an MOC exam starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration - this includes the final year of certificate validity. To apply for this exam, please log into the Online Applications section of the ABS website. See also the exam's How to Apply page for further details.

The exam is developed by active surgeons in community and academic practice and is intended to cover core general surgery principles. A content outline (pdf) is also available to assist diplomates.

The ABS will also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward the ABS MOC Program for recertification or certification by the ABS or another ABMS board. In addition, surgeons who achieve recertification or certification may apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. See the AMA website and direct CME application (pdf) for details.


New System for Reporting of Exam Results

Beginning this year, the ABS is moving to a clearer, more consistent system for the reporting of results of all written summative examinations (i.e., written qualifying, certifying and MOC examinations). Results will now be reported to examinees as scaled scores, rather than raw scores. Raw exam scores will be converted to a scale of 100 to 900, with a consistent passing scaled score of 400 for all exams.

Because examinations can vary slightly in difficulty across administrations, the ABS uses the psychometric process of equating to ensure the passing standard remains consistent. Although the passing standard itself does not change from year to year, reporting exam results as raw percent correct scores, as previously done, can make results difficult to interpret. The new fixed scaled score, by comparison, better reflects the consistent standard that must be achieved on an exam.

The move to scaled scores for the reporting of exam results in no way impacts how the ABS equates across exams or determines and applies our passing standards. The new scaled scores are rather intended to provide greater clarity and more useful information to examinees as they seek to achieve or maintain their certification. Full Announcement


New Case Minimums for General Surgery Residents

This spring the defined category case minimums for general surgery residency were updated through a collaboration of the ABS, Association of Program Directors in Surgery, and Residency Review Committee for Surgery (RRC-Surgery) of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This was done in response to concern that the current minimums were too low and lacked specificity. The ACGME's resident operative case logs for the last three years (2013-2015), as well as the current category minimums, were used as reference points in the revision process.

The new defined category minimum numbers (pdf) have been approved by the RRC-Surgery for implementation effective with residents graduating in the 2017-2018 academic year. The ABS will also change our training requirements as of 2017-2018 to be consistent with the RRC-Surgery: an increase in the minimum number of total operative procedures from 750 to 850; an increase in the minimum number of chief resident year operative procedures from 150 to 200; and an increase in the minimum number of cases in surgical critical care patient management from 25 to 40.


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