About MOC

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), of which the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ABPS) and the American Board of Surgery (ABS) are members, now requires a more comprehensive program for Diplomates of the Boards to maintain their certification.

This new program is termed Maintenance of Certification (MOC®) and it will replace the Recertification processes used by the individual Boards.

Why was MOC® developed?

MOC® was developed in response to external pressures from the Public, the Government, the Institute of Medicine, and other groups concerned about the quality of health care in the United States. The once-a-decade written test as a recertification process for physicians is no longer supportable in this era of rapidly changing information and technology. Public demand for greater assurance that physicians remain current and competent has led to the adoption of the MOC® Program by the members of the ABMS.

Each member Board of the ABMS has tailored its requirements for MOC® according to the scope of the Specialty. ABMS approval of the final form of the MOC® program for the individual Boards will occur this year. Implementation of the MOC® programs must occur as soon as possible so that all diplomates are fully participating by 2016.

What will MOC® look like?

MOC® for all medical specialties must evaluate the Four Components that define a competent physician. These include Evidence of Professional Standing, Evidence of Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment, Evidence of Cognitive Expertise, and Evidence of Performance in Practice. Each Board will determine the methods of assessing these competencies for its Diplomates.

How does this impact ASSH members?

The members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand (ASSH) are certified by one of three member Boards of the ABMS, and will have different requirements for MOC® depending on their parent Board.

ASSH members should be familiar with the MOC® requirements of his or her parent Board. A brief overview of the different requirements for the three involved Boards is presented above. Because the ASSH requires a Subspecialty Certificate in Surgery of the Hand, known as the “CAQ in Surgery of the Hand,” there are special considerations for ASSH members in the MOC® process. ASSH members should refer to their primary Board for information on MOC. This information is posted on the Board websites.

Prepared by ASSH MOC® Committee
Last updated March 2, 2006