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Maintenance of Certification
Maintenance of Certification (MOC)

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  • The American Board of Surgery (ABS) updated their requirements for the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. According to the Board, “the changes are intended to offer surgeons greater flexibility and more practice-relevant options for continuing their certificate, to support them in their goal of lifelong learning and high-quality patient care.” Highlights of the updates include:
    • Diplomates will be asked to report to the ABS every five years (rather than every three years) regarding their professional standing, CME activities, and self-assessment participation.
    • Diplomates will be required to complete 150 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ over a five-year cycle (instead of 90 credits over a three-year cycle). Of the 150 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits, 50 must include self-assessment (instead of 60 of the 90 credits).
    • To be implemented in 2018: Diplomates will be offered alternatives to the recertification exam in general surgery required at 10-year intervals, with other specialties phased in when possible. As the details of this step are not yet determined, the ABS plans to gather feedback regarding these future alternatives via surveys, from focus groups, and by sending representatives to surgical meetings in the coming months.

      Diplomates’ personal ABS login area was updated to reflect the changes above. For additional information, please visit the ABS website

      These updates have also been reflected on the CME Credit Application. The CPDA team will continue to convey relevant information and changes as we receive them.

    • Beginning in the fall, the CPDA team will be increasing site visits to ensure CME compliance. If your meeting is in the Chicago, IL, area, you will be notified if a member of the staff is planning a visit to your activity.
    • For all activities held after July 1, 2017, the Certificate of Attendance has been updated to the Certificate of Completion. The new template should be used for all formats (both live meetings and enduring materials) and includes text regarding converting hours for health care professionals’ respective credentialing boards.
    • The CME Credit Application has been updated slightly to include a more prominent checklist for the supplementary information, including the planning minutes and planning disclosure forms. This section should serve as a helpful reminder when submitting the required components needed for CME Credit approval.


      NJ CDS UPDATE: The New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, Chief of Drug Control (CDS) is late in mailing the CDS renewal forms. The renewal forms should be mailed by the end of September (there will be a grace period but it has not yet been determined by the Department). Renewals will be able to be completed on line. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Society office.
      New Jersey Drug Control Unit FAQ



      NJ CDS UPDATE: The New Jersey Department of Law & Public Safety, Chief of Drug Control (CDS) is late in mailing the CDS renewal forms. The renewal forms should be mailed by the end of September (there will be a grace period but it has not yet been determined by the Department). Renewals will be able to be completed on line. Should you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Society office.
      New Jersey Drug Control Unit FAQ
      There is increasing opposition by surgeons to the onerous requirement for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and/or Board Recertification. The Executive Council of the New Jersey American College of Surgeons believes that recertification to insure that a surgeon has stayed current with the latest advances is laudable, but disagrees with the complexity and expense of the present process. Despite the fact that no data exists correlating board certification and/or MOC with improved quality of care or surgical competence, surgeons are proud of their board certification and of course want to continue to stay up-to-date with rapidly changing surgical knowledge. Equally important is that much of the material required no longer applied to the practicing surgeon. Even in specialized fields i.e., cardiothoracic surgery, the clinical surgeon specializes in thoracic, cardiac or congenital cardiac disease, yet board recertification still mandates the applicant be academically competent in all three; this only adds to the difficulty of preparation. The present MOC process is redundant and intrusive. Moreover, not only are these procedures very time consuming, taking away precious time from patient care and family time, but they are extremely expensive. Fees range as high as $3,000 and this doesn’t even include indirect costs such as tutorials and transportation to the exam site. It has even been suggested that since the board profits from these burdensome procedures, it might translate into a significant conflict of interest. The Governors from the New Jersey Chapter of the American College of Surgeons have been asked to bring this to the meeting of Governors and Regents in October. We suggest that a more reasonable, pragmatic method be considered to insure clinical competence. In lieu of the present system, we recommend a continuous certification satisfied by a course that deals with the applicant’s specialty, followed by an examination that specifically addresses his/her surgical practice, every five (5) years. Otherwise we fear that many if not the majority of surgeons will opt out of MOC, since, in our state for example, it is not mandatory, and most hospitals after initial certification, don’t require it either. We believe this is likely the case throughout the country. Lewis Wetstein, MD, FACS Past Present and ACS Governor Mark Moritz, MD, FACS Past President and ACS Governor September 2014
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