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General Surgery Recertification Exam Performance Associated With Subsequent Loss of License Actions

Apr. 23, 2019 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney , 215-568-4000

An important component of maintaining board certification in general surgery is the requirement to pass a periodic assessment. Critics have argued that maintaining certification is not related to meaningful outcomes and that the assessment component is unnecessary. Prior to introducing the General Surgery Continuous Certification Assessment, the American Board of Surgery (ABS) offered a recertification exam for general surgeons to maintain their board certification. No study has analyzed the relationship between recertification exam performance and outcomes.

In a follow-up to a previous ABS study that examined the relationship between maintaining board certification and loss of license actions, a new study finds a direct association between recertification examination performance in general surgery and subsequent loss of license actions.

Results show that general surgeons who failed their first recertification exam attempt had a higher rate of subsequent loss of license actions than those who passed on their first attempt, suggesting that effectively demonstrating sufficient surgical knowledge is a significant predictor of future severe negative licensing actions. The ABS will continue to monitor the relationship between surgeon performance and participation in the new Continuous Certification Program and outcomes.

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