Maintenance of Certification (MOC) - Overview

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What is MOC?
  • Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is a continuous professional development program created by the ABS and the other 23 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties. MOC goes beyond traditional recertification to a process of ongoing learning, assessment and improvement throughout a surgeon's career.
  • ABS MOC is a program developed by surgeons for surgeons. The ABS is working with specialty surgical organizations to ensure the ABS MOC Program is relevant to all practice areas.
  • The ABS is also coordinating its MOC requirements with those of other regulatory groups. The Federation of State Medical Boards has recognized MOC as satisfying Maintenance of Licensure (MOL). The ABS is also working with health insurers to gain recognition for diplomates participating in the ABS MOC Program.
  • PQRS MOC Incentive: The ABS has been approved by CMS for the 2014 Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) MOC Incentive. Please see our PQRS MOC Incentive page for details.

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How Does it Work?
  • Diplomates begin the ABS MOC Program once they certify or recertify in any specialty after July 2005. MOC requirements run in three-year cycles (Jan. 1-Dec. 31). After each cycle, diplomates report on their MOC activities by completing a brief online form. A secure MOC (recertification) exam is also required at 10-year intervals. For diplomates who hold more than one certificate, only the MOC exam must be repeated for each specialty.
  • See our MOC Requirements for more details. For quick reference, print this one-page summary (pdf).

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Why Now?
  • Board certification is considered to be the gold standard in assuring a surgeon has acquired and is sustaining a certain level of knowledge, skill and professionalism. MOC will ensure that board certification remains a recognized, surgeon-defined, standard of excellence. MOC will provide diplomates with greater opportunities for learning and assessment, while giving patients further assurance that an ABS-certified surgeon is providing safe, effective care.

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Staying in Contact
  • The ABS will keep diplomates informed about MOC through its newsletters and e-mail updates, and will contact you directly by mail and e-mail when submission of information is due. Please keep your contact information up to date through My Records/My Account.

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