Hospice & Palliative Medicine Recertification Exam

  • The ABS, along with several other ABMS member boards, offers a subspecialty certificate in hospice and palliative medicine (HPM). The HPM Recertification Exam is offered every year to diplomates certified in HPM by the ABS. While diplomates will apply through the ABS, the exam will be administered through the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM).
  • The exam developed by the ABIM is a one-day exam approximately 8 hours long given through Pearson VUE testing services. An examination blueprint (pdf) (content outline) is available from the ABIM website.
    Next Exam: Nov. 1, 2021
    Registration Deadline: Jun. 1

When to Take Exam

  • Diplomates are eligible to take a recertification exam starting 3 years before their certificate's expiration; this includes the final year of certificate validity. Surgeons with lapsed certificates should refer to our Lapsed Certificate Policy. Surgeons on active military duty who may encounter difficulty taking the exam should notify the ABS as soon as possible.

General Requirements

To be eligible for this exam, diplomates must:

  • Certification Status: Be certified by the ABS in HPM and meeting the requirements of Continuous Certification. Certification may not be revoked. Current certification in general surgery is not required. Diplomates not meeting requirements cannot register for the exam until re-entry requirements are met.
  • Professional Activity: Be in the active practice and/or teaching and/or research and/or administrative activities relevant to HPM. If diplomates are providing care to hospitalized patients, they must hold practice privileges at an accredited health care institution. If diplomates no longer hold privileges, they must provide an explanation on the application form.
  • Professional References: Receive satisfactory references from the HPM supervisor and chair of credentials at the institution where the majority of work is performed. If necessary, another physician of comparable rank may be used.
  • Medical License: Have a currently registered full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the U.S. or Canada. Diplomates are required to immediately inform the ABS of any conditions or restrictions in force on any active medical license they hold.
  • Adhere to the ABS Ethics and Professionalism Policy.

Registration Process

  • The online registration process is posted in the spring of the exam year — please see How to Register. Eligible diplomates will be notified when registration opens.
  • Diplomates who register for multiple recertification exams within a five-year period do not need to submit most materials more than once; however fees must be submitted for each exam.

General Surgery vs. Surgical Specialties

  • As of 1997, maintaining a certificate in general surgery is not required for maintaining certification in other ABS specialties. Surgeons who allow their general surgery certificate to lapse while maintaining a certificate in another ABS specialty will no longer be reported as certified in general surgery, but will still be considered as certified by the ABS.
  • Diplomates who become certified in general surgery and then wish to certify in another ABS specialty must be in compliance with the ABS Continuous Certification Program to be admissible to the certification process.

CME Credit

  • Upon passing the HPM recertification exam, the ABS will waive 60 credits of CME with self-assessment toward ongoing certification requirements; the waiver will appear automatically in your CME Repository.
  • Surgeons who achieve ABS recertification may also apply to the AMA to receive 60 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Please see the AMA website and the direct CME application (pdf) for details.

For specific inquiries, please send an email to the exam coordinator.