The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has modified the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program.
The Board spent many months deliberating about how best to provide an ABOS MOC Program that is meaningful and valuable to ABOS Diplomates, while also ensuring that the public is still protected. In addition, the ABOS needs to continue to meet the Continuing Certification Standards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS). The ABOS MOC changes will be effective beginning January 1, 2024, and will satisfy those requirements.
To be clear, most of the ABOS MOC Program is not changing. Most Diplomates will not notice the changes. Below is a description of what is changing and what is not as of January 1st. As I am an ABOS Diplomate whose ABOS Board Certification expires in 2031, these changes impact me as well. The thing to remember is that the ABOS’s mission is to protect the public and these changes will ensure that the Board stays true to its mission without significantly increasing the burden for ABOS Diplomates as they maintain their ABOS Board and Subspecialty Certifications.
Other ABMS Member Boards have shortened their Continuing Certification (MOC) cycle, but the ABOS is keeping the 10-year ABOS Board Certification MOC cycle. While the timing for meeting some of the ABOS MOC requirements is changing, the total requirements for each 10-year MOC cycle remain the same.
What's Not Changing
- The ABOS MOC Program for Board Certification will continue to be on a 10-year cycle
- Diplomates will still need to maintain an unrestricted medical license
- Diplomates will still submit 240 Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits, of which 40 are Self-Assessment Examination (SAE) credits, for each 10-year ABOS MOC cycle
- Diplomates will still submit an Application (now called a Professional Standing Update) and Case List once every 10 years
- Diplomates will still be able to choose from the same ABOS Knowledge Assessment Pathways (ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment [ABOS WLA], Computer-Based Recertification Examination, Oral Recertification Examination)
- Diplomates can still take an ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination in years 5-10
- The ABOS is working with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and CME providers to automatically transfer CME credits to the ABOS—there will be no need to remember to save and upload CME certificates
- The Application will now be called the Professional Standing Update and will be submitted with a Case List in years 7, 8, or 9
- Diplomates can take an ABOS Computer-Based Recertification Examination prior to submitting their Professional Standing Update
- Diplomates can submit their Professional Standing Update prior to meeting the CME/SAE requirements
- Diplomates earn ABOS Recertification after all aspects of the ABOS MOC Program are complete during their 10-year MOC cycle. Separating these requirements will allow for greater flexibility to complete each step in a timeframe that works with each Diplomate’s unique circumstances.
What’s New (Diplomates whose ABOS Board Certification expire in 2031 or later)
- Diplomates must earn half of their CME credits (120 CME credits, of which 20 are SAEs), by December 31st of year 5 (earned in the first 5 years of the 10-year cycle)
- Diplomates who do not meet the requirement by December 31 of year 5 will lose their ABOS Board Certification
- Diplomates must earn the remaining half of their CME credits in the second 5 years of the 10-year cycle by December 31st of year 10 of the 10-year cycle or will lose their ABOS Board Certification
These changes meet new Standards for Continuing Certification from the ABMS. The reason that some changes will only affect Diplomates whose certificates expire in 2031 or later is to give Diplomates enough time to earn the CME and SAE credits.
The automatic transfer of CME credits to the ABOS from the ACCME as CME credits are earned will streamline this process for ABOS Diplomates. Once operational CME credits you earn—such as with the AOSSM—will automatically be transferred to the ABOS via the ACCME. You will not have to remember to upload certificates or do anything to receive MOC credit from the ABOS. Our IT staff is working with the ACCME IT staff to make this a reality. All ABOS Diplomates will receive an email when this new feature is live.
As a reminder, if you want to take an ABOS Practice-Profiled Examination as your Knowledge Assessment Pathway, they are now offered in alternating years. The ABOS Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Practice-Profiled Examination will be offered in 2024 and then again in 2026. If you want to take the 2024 Examination, you must submit an Application and Case List by December 1, 2023. To view which examinations are offered in which years, go to https://www.abos.org/moc/examination-options/. The other Knowledge Assessment Pathways are the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment (ABOS WLA) and the ABOS Oral Recertification Examination – they are available on a yearly basis.
The ABOS plans to continue to offer the ABOS Orthopaedic Sports Medicine Subspecialty Examination yearly. If you completed a sports-medicine fellowship at an ACGME-accredited fellowship program, I highly recommend you apply. You can find the application on your ABOS Dashboard. The application deadline for the 2024 Examination is February 1, 2024. Earning ABOS Subspecialty Certification shows patients that you have the knowledge and additional training to be a competent orthopaedic sports medicine surgeon. Fewer than 3,000 orthopaedic surgeons in the United States can claim this distinction. I proudly tell my patients that I have Subspecialty Certification in Orthopaedic Sports Medicine from the ABOS.
If you have any questions about the MOC changes or Subspecialty Certification, do not hesitate to contact your ABOS Certification Specialist. I am also happy to talk with you. Our contact information can be found at https://www.abos.org/contact/.