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ABS Study Demonstrates Relationship Between Maintaining Board Certification in Surgery and Loss of License Actions

Sept. 18, 2018 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney , 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery (ABS) introduced time-limited certification in 1976, requiring diplomates who were initially certified to subsequently pass a secure, multiple-choice, comprehensive recertification examination in surgery every ten years as demonstration that they remain current with advancements in surgical knowledge. Critics argue that maintaining certification is burdensome and that there is no evidence that it is associated with improved outcomes.

Following an analysis of loss of license actions for 15,500 general surgeons who were initially certified by the ABS, Andrew Jones, Ph.D., and colleagues found that surgeons who recertified on time following initial certification (who did not allow their initial certification to lapse) had a significantly lower likelihood of future loss of medical license actions than those who allowed their initial certification to lapse or never recertified.

This is the first study that links an association of maintaining continuous certification in general surgery with an important practice-related outcome. Surgeons who allow their certification to lapse or do not recertify have a higher likelihood of a subsequent loss of license action.

To view the study and its results, please visit the JAMA website (subscription required).