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ABS Introduces Changes to MOC Part 2

September 30, 2011 Media Contact: Christine Shiffer, 215-568-4000

The American Board of Surgery will introduce changes in 2012 to Part 2 of the ABS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. These changes are intended to simplify the Part 2 requirements while providing some basic parameters as to the continuing medical education (CME) appropriate for lifelong learning and self-assessment. Surgeons who are certified by the ABS are automatically enrolled in the ABS MOC Program upon certification or recertification in any ABS specialty after July 1, 2005.

For Part 2, the ABS currently requires 30 hours of Category I CME and 50 CME hours overall per year. Over a three-year MOC cycle, one-third of the Category I CME (30 hours) must include a self-assessment activity. The ABS considers self-assessment to be a written question-and-answer exercise, paper or online, that assesses the surgeon's understanding of the material presented during the CME program.

These requirements will change to the following:

Effective January 1, 2012:

  • The ABS will no longer require Category II CME for MOC or recertification. This is a reduction in the overall CME hours required.
  • All CME must be relevant to the diplomate's practice. There are no other restrictions on subject matter. If a diplomate is clinically inactive, the CME must be related to the discipline of surgery.
  • The requirement for vascular surgeons to complete half their CME and all self-assessment in vascular surgery is rescinded. All ABS diplomates have the same requirements regardless of specialty.

Effective July 1, 2012:

  • ABS diplomates in MOC are required to complete 90 hours of Category I CME over a three-year MOC cycle.
  • Of the 90 hours of Category I CME, 60 hours must contain self-assessment.
  • For the CME to count as self-assessment, a score of 75% or more correct must be attained on the self-assessment portion of the CME activity. There is no minimum number of questions and repeated attempts are allowed. CME programs may elect to require a higher score at their discretion.
  • For diplomates in the midst of a three-year MOC cycle, the 60 hours of self-assessment will be prorated:
    • If diplomates have one year remaining in their MOC cycle, they must complete an additional 10 hours of self-assessment, for a total of 40 self-assessment hours completed by end of cycle (June 30, 2013).
    • If diplomates have two years remaining in their MOC cycle, they must complete an additional 20 hours of self-assessment, for a total of 50 self-assessment hours completed by end of cycle (June 30, 2014).

Diplomates should check their MOC Timeline (login required) if they are unsure of their current status.

The ABS does not approve specific CME activities. If the CME activity is relevant to the surgeon's practice and provides Category I credit, it can be counted toward MOC Part 2. This includes Category I CME performed to meet state licensing requirements and courses on topics such as ethics, patient safety, etc. The ABS is working with CME providers to increase the number of programs that include self-assessment. See the MOC Part 2 page for more details and resources.

At the end of a three-year cycle, diplomates are required to submit an online form about their MOC activities, including CME completed for Part 2. MOC cycles run from July 1 to June 30, beginning the July 1 following certification or recertification. The MOC Requirements page contains further information.

The ABS recognizes the dedication of diplomates to ABS certification and lifelong learning, and is working to ensure MOC is a valuable process for both surgeons and the public we serve. We welcome the input of diplomates and surgical societies as the ABS MOC Program evolves.

About the ABS

The American Board of Surgery is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying surgeons who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge. The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, surgery of the hand, hospice and palliative medicine, and complex general surgical oncology. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.