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Maintenance of Certification
What You Need to Know

What is Maintenance of Certification?

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and its 24 member boards initiated Maintenance of Certification (MOC) in 2006 to advance the professional standards of physicians.

All MOC/Continuous Certification programs implemented by the Member Boards measure the same six competencies within the same four-part framework. While these elements are consistent across all Member Boards, what may vary, according to the specialty, are the specific activities the Member Boards use to measure these competencies. Despite some variation in the activities, they are all built upon evidence-based guidelines, national clinical and quality standards, and specialty best practices.

The following competencies were first adopted in 1999 by the Accreditation Council for Graduate medical Education (ACGME) and ABMS:

  • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
  • Patient Care and Procedural Skills
  • Systems-based Practice
  • Medical Knowledge
  • Interpersonal and Communication Skills
  • Professionalism

The four-part framework includes:

For more information on the American Board of Medical Specialties and the Continuous Certification process, please visit ABMS MOC.

ABCRS Continuous Certification (formerly MOC)

All ABCRS Diplomates certified in 1990 or later are required to participate in the Continuous Certification process. Current rules state that Diplomates with Unlimited Certification (certified prior to 1990) are not required to participate in Continuous Certification, but are encouraged to do so.

Using the framework of the general competencies, the ABCRS Continuous Certification program consists of four key components that will measure these competencies on a continual basis.  With the implementation of a longitudinal assessment program (CertLink), we are currently transitioning to a 5-year cycle for all requirements.

  1. Professional Standing (every 5 years)
    • Verification of Full Licensure
    • Evaluation and Hospital Privileges Form
  2. Life-Long learning and Self-Assessment (every 5 years)
    • 80 hours of Category 1 CME credits
    • Completion of 40 self-assessment  CMEs.   Effective July 1, 2020, diplomates enrolled in CertLink will now receive up to 40 self-assessment AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits™   over a 5-year period for successfully completing  the Continuous Certification Quarterly CertLink Assessment with a passing score of 70%.
    • 40 non self- assessment Category 1 CME Credits.
  3. Cognitive Expertise (Continuous/5 year cycle)
    • Currently transitioning to Longitudinal Assessment through the CertLink platform
    • 10-15 questions per quarter for 16 quarters
  4. Evaluation of Performance in Practice (every 5 years)
    • Communications and interpersonal skills
    • Clinical practice data – Ongoing participation in a national, regional or local outcomes database or quality assessment program.