CME and Self-Assessment
- As part of Continuous Certification, the ABS requires 150 credits of Category 1 CME over five years. The CME must be relevant to your practice, or if clinically inactive, to the broad discipline of surgery.
- Category 1 CME activities are formal educational experiences accredited by the AMA, ACCME, RCPSC or EACCME. These may include seminars, conferences, grand rounds, webinars, podcasts, skills courses and departmental scientific meetings.
- CME courses completed for state licensing requirements and on topics such as ethics, patient safety, surgeon leadership, etc., are accepted. Diplomates who hold multiple ABS certificates do not have to repeat the CME requirement for each certificate.
- The ABS expects that each CME credit corresponds to one hour of time spent on the activity. Therefore, the ABS will generally not accept more than 12 credits of CME earned in a single day.
- In addition, at least 50 of the 150 CME credits must include a self-assessment component. When you participate in a CME activity that includes self-assessment (SA), the SA credits will be transferred to ABS along with the category-1 credits via the PARS system. Check the ACCME's CME Passport website to find CME activities that meet ABS continuous certification requirements.
- Activities with self-assessment will be denoted with "SA" (e.g., ABS Point: 1; ABS Credit Type(s) CME, SA).
Waiving of CME
- The requirement above will change to 125 CME credits with no self-assessment required once diplomates pass the new assessment (see New Assessment Enrollment), beginning January 1 of the year following the first successful assessment attempt.
- The ABS will also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment for new diplomates who pass an initial certifying exam. A waiver for 60 credits will appear in your CME Repository.
- If you achieved initial certification by another ABMS board, you may also waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment. The 60 credits must be entered by you into your CME Repository. If requested, you would need to provide a photocopy of your certificate or similar documentation.
- Diplomates in a fellowship are also exempt from the CME/self-assessment requirement during their time in training. The fellowship must be at least 12 months (and no more than 2 years) in duration and accredited by the ACGME or an organization with a formal accreditation process (e.g., ASTS, ACS, Fellowship Council, etc.). CME and self-assessments credits will be prorated based on the remaining time in the five-year period.
ABS's collaboration with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) streamlines the process through which diplomates monitor and report their CME credits in order to fulfill ABS Continuous Certification (CC) Program requirements.
When registering for a CME activity with an accredited CME provider, ABS diplomates can expect to provide the following information for the provider to report the CME credit:
- first name
- last name
- month and day of birth
- permission to share this information with the ACCME and the ABS
Once you complete an activity, the CME provider will collect and submit your credit information to ABS. These credits will automatically appear in your ABS CME repository - no transfer or manual entry needed. In order for this process to work, you must give the CME provider permission to share your learner data with ABS. Providers may ask for your ABS Candidate ID# when you register for the activity, which can be found in the blue bar at the top of the page when you log in to your ABS portal, as well as on your "Exam Records and Results" page. For more information on this process, see our process overview, collaboration announcement and CME FAQs.
Visit ACCME's CME Passport to search the list of accredited CME activities that towards ABS Continuous Certification and ongoing certification requirements.
If the CME organization doesn’t know how to report your credit, you can direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and the staff at ACCME will help them get their activity registered and show them how to report your CME credit.
Diplomates who are members of the ASMBS can directly transfer CME credits from their society repository into the ABS repository. When transferring credits, be sure to make note of the authorization code listed in your ABS portal - you will need this code to make the transfer.
For Diplomates Who Use ACS MyCME
The American College of Surgeons (ACS) has recently launched an updated process to transmit CME credit from ACS MyCME to the ABS via the ACCME. The process to send credits from ACS MyCME to the ABS is nearly identical to the previous transfer process. ACS fellows should:
- log in to ACS MyCME;
- provide their ABS ID;
- select the date range for CME credit earned; and
- grant permission for the data transfer.
For help with this process, ACS fellows should contact ACS MyCME at email@example.com.
Until July 1, 2023, diplomates can also add CME credit to their ABS repository manually. When adding credit manually, you will be asked to include the date the activity was completed, how many credits you earned, who the educational provider for the activity was, what organization accredited the activity, and a brief description of the activity that was completed. Diplomates may not manually add CME credits that were transferred to their repository previously using one of the two methods listed above.
As part of the collaboration with the ACCME (explained above), the manual reporting feature in the ABS portal will no longer be necessary and will be retired on July 1, 2023.
- No documentation is required at the time when CME credits are logged by a diplomate in their portal using one of the above methods. However, please note that the ABS audits a percentage of diplomates each year. If you are selected for audit, you will need to supply documentation of CME.
- Diplomates who pass an ABS Continuous Certification Assessment may also apply to the AMA to receive 12 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits. The AMA will also grant credit for teaching at a live CME activity, being first author on a published article, and obtaining a medically-related advanced degree. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.
- Some available resources for CME with self-assessment:*
- Vascular surgery-related programs:
- Pediatric surgery-related programs:
* The ABS posts these links as a service to diplomates; it assumes no responsibility for the content of these programs. Posting of links is at the discretion of the ABS. For a CME activity to be posted on this page, it must be: (1) sponsored by a nonprofit organization; (2) national in scope; (3) contain content applicable to ABS diplomates; (4) meet the ABS' definition of self-assessment; (5) be an enduring, ongoing program.