Revocation of Certificate

Policy outlining the circumstances that may lead to the involuntary loss of a surgeon's board certification.

Any certificate issued by the American Board of Surgery (ABS) may be subject to sanction such as revocation or suspension at any time that the directors shall determine, in their sole judgment, that the diplomate holding the certificate was in some respect not properly qualified to receive it or is no longer properly qualified to retain it.

The directors of the ABS may consider sanction for just and sufficient reason, including, but not limited to, any of the following:

  • The diplomate did not possess the necessary qualifications nor meet the requirements to receive the certificate at the time it was issued; falsified any part of the application or other required documentation; participated in any form of examination irregularities; or made any material misstatement or omission to the ABS, whether or not the ABS knew of such deficiencies at the time.
  • The diplomate engaged in the unauthorized disclosure, publication, reproduction or transmission of ABS examination content, or had knowledge of such activity and failed to report it to the ABS.
  • The diplomate misrepresented his or her status with regard to board certification, including any misstatement of fact about being board certified in any specialty or subspecialty.
  • The diplomate engaged in conduct resulting in a revocation, suspension, qualification or other limitation of his or her license to practice medicine in any jurisdiction and/or failed to inform the ABS of the license restriction.
  • The diplomate engaged in conduct resulting in the expulsion, suspension, disqualification or other limitation from membership in a local, regional, national or other organization of his or her professional peers.
  • The diplomate engaged in conduct resulting in revocation, suspension or other limitation on his or her privileges to practice surgery in a health care institution.
  • The diplomate failed to respond to inquiries from the ABS regarding his or her credentials, or to participate in investigations conducted by the board.
  • The diplomate failed to provide an acceptable level of care or demonstrate sufficient competence and technical proficiency in the treatment of patients.
  • The diplomate failed to maintain ethical, professional and moral standards acceptable to the ABS.

The holder of a revoked or suspended certificate will be given written notice of the reasons for its sanction by express letter carrier (e.g., FedEx) to the last address that the holder has provided to the ABS. Sanction is final upon the mailing of the notification.

Upon revocation of certification, the holder’s status will be changed to Not Certified and the holder will be required to return the certificate to the ABS office.

Individuals may appeal the decision to revoke or suspend a certificate by complying with the ABS Reconsideration and Appeals Policy. A request for reconsideration, the first step, must be made in writing to the ABS office within 90 days of receipt of notice from the ABS of the action in question.

Should the circumstances that justified revocation of certification be corrected, the directors of the ABS at their sole discretion may reinstate the certificate after appropriate review of the individual’s licensure and performance using the same standards as applied to applicants for certification, and following fulfillment by the individual of requirements previously determined by the ABS.

Requirements for certificate reinstatement will be determined by the ABS on a case-by-case basis in parallel with the type and severity of the original infraction, up to and including complete repetition of the initial certification process. Individuals who have had their certification revoked or suspended and then restored, regardless of their initial certification status or prior dates of certification, will be required to take and pass the next recertification examination to reinstate their certification. Upon passing the examination, they will be awarded a new, time-limited certificate and enrolled in the ABS Continuous Certification Program.

Related Policies

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