Clinically Inactive Policy

Surgeons who are clinically inactive are working in an administrative or research setting and are no longer seeing patients.

Current diplomates who are no longer in clinical practice may register for a Continuous Certification Assessment through the Certified-Clinically Inactive designation. This status is intended for surgeons who are working in an administrative or research setting or similar situation and no longer see patients.

These individuals may not be treating patients in any capacity and may not be supervising residents or others in providing patient care.

Note: The Clinically Inactive status does not apply to diplomates who no longer operate but still see patients. These diplomates should submit information about their current clinical activities when registering.

Exam or Assessment Registration

When registering, you will be prompted for information regarding your non-clinical activities. You will need to address if you have any patient contact, be it inpatient, outpatient, consultative or otherwise, and whether you communicate with patients in any manner, including through email, blogs, other Internet forums, phone, face-to-face, etc. Also note if you make any clinical decisions or recommendations of any kind, including chart review, review or assessments of studies or laboratories, or similar.

The reference forms should be submitted by supervisors or peers who are familiar with your current activities.

Upon passing the Continuous Certification Assessment, you will be deemed “Certified-Clinically Inactive” and receive a certificate so stating. To maintain your status, you must also meet all other Continuous Certification program requirements, except for practice improvement.

Reporting of Status

Any inquiry received by the ABS as to the diplomate’s certification status will specify that they are considered Clinically Inactive and that this status is intended only for diplomates who have no involvement in patient management.

Return to Active Practice

Clinically inactive diplomates who decide to change their status and return to active practice should first develop a re-entry plan with their institution for approval by the ABS—see Re-entry to Surgical Practice for further details. The diplomate will be required to submit information regarding their return to clinical activity, including plans for monitoring and evaluation during the re-entry process, and fulfill additional requirements based on the surgeon’s particular circumstances.

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