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Hardship Modifications to Continuous Certification Reporting Requirements

Apr. 16, 2020 | Updated May 20, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney , 215-568-4000

The ABS understands that the COVID-19 pandemic has put a strain on practicing surgeons, and so modifications have been made to the Continuous Certification Program reporting requirements and the typical process for this year’s Continuous Certification Assessment.

  1. The 2020 Continuous Certification Assessment window will be extended beyond the typical eight weeks to give diplomates extra time to complete it. Diplomates will still have two weeks to complete the assessment once started, with up to two attempts to pass. This year’s assessment will be available from Monday, Sept. 7 – Monday, Nov. 16, 2020.

  2. Diplomates who are enrolling in the Continuous Certification Program for the first time or who are already in the program and are on the normal Continuous Certification Assessment schedule will be able to take the assessment before completing the majority of their ongoing requirements. Diplomates may have a hard time fulfilling requirements such as CME and obtaining reference letters right now, and we don’t want that to prevent someone from being able to complete the assessment earlier in the window, if they choose. Once you pay your annual fee for 2020, you will immediately be able to unlock and complete the assessment.

    As long as you complete your remaining requirements by Nov. 16, 2020, your status as of Jan. 1, 2021 will be listed as "Certified – Meeting CC Requirements." If you pass your assessment in 2020 but do not complete your requirements by Nov. 16, your status will be displayed as "Certified – Not Meeting CC Requirements" and will remain as such until those requirements are fulfilled.

  3. ABS encourages anyone who has a grace year available to them and feels that they are unprepared or unable to take the assessment this year in 2020 to take advantage of the grace year. Grace years are provided to diplomates who are enrolled in the Continuous Certification Program and do not pass an assessment when it is due.

    For diplomates who are entering the Continuous Certification Program for the first time this year, you are considered enrolled in the program once you pay your annual fee. If you pay your fee but do not complete your ongoing requirements and/or take your assessment, you will receive a one-time-only COVID-19 grace year in 2021.

    Diplomates who used their grace year in 2019 will NOT be extended an additional grace year, and must complete and pass the assessment by 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 16.

  4. Diplomates who are participating in the lapsed pathway to regain certification will need to meet all requirements of the lapsed pathway (including providing all outstanding requirements BEFORE taking the assessment), pay for and pass the 2020 assessment by 11:59 p.m. ET on Nov. 16.

We are currently working to update our Continuous Certification website pages to reflect the above information. Additional details and Continuous Certification Program information will be sent in the coming weeks to diplomates who are due to complete an assessment in 2020.