Quality Corner, v1.2

Explaining the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process

Maintenance of Certification (MOC)


Continuous Certification

Under this new method, MOC requirements and fees will not change. However, new certificates will have no “end dates” but instead will be contingent on participation in MOC. “Look-backs” of MOC status will take place as follows. Every March on a pre-specified date (not yet determined), an automated look-back at each diplomate’s record will take place. Included in that look-back are the following embedded questions:

  • Part 1 (licensure)—Is the diplomate’s licensure status current and unrestricted? If “Yes,” then the diplomate is meeting the requirement.
  • Part 2 (CMEs/Self-Assessment Modules)— Over the past 3 years, has the diplomate earned 3 years’ worth of CME credits and completed 3 years’ worth of SAMs? If “Yes,” then the diplomate is meeting the requirement. ( There will be no restrictions on the number of credits that can be counted toward requirements in a single year.)
  • Part 3 (MOC examination)—Has the diplomate taken and passed an examination (either initial certification or MOC) in the past 10 years? If “Yes,” then the diplomate is meeting the requirement.
  • Part 4 (Practice Quality Improvement projects)—Has the diplomate completed a PQI project in the past 3 years? If “Yes,” then the diplomate is meeting the requirement.
  • Fees—Is the diplomate current on fees (not two payments behind schedule)? If so, then the diplomate is meeting the requirement.


Continuous Certification will apply to diplomates newly certified in 2012 or later and will be phased in for other diplomates as they complete their current MOC 10-year cycles. Lifetime certificate holders will not be required to participate. However, any ABR diplomate may choose to enroll in Continuous Certification at any time and may wish to do so because the new process has many advantages:

  • Diplomates with two or more certificates can synchronize MOC cycles by merging into a single process with Continuous Certification.
  • There are no limits to the number of CME credits and SAMs that can be counted toward requirements per year.
  • The MOC examination may be taken at any time, as long as the diplomate’s previous initial certification or MOC examination was passed no more than 10 years previously.
  • Diplomates will have a built-in “catch-up” period of 1 year, during which they may make up requirements while still being classified as certified.
  • Reminders integral to the Continuous Certification process will help diplomates avoid procrastination and meet all of their requirements without the stress of a hurried effort to meet 10 years’ worth of requirements in a very short period of time.
  • There will be less chance of falling behind in compliance and inadvertently being reported publicly as “not meeting the requirements of MOC.”
  • Each participant will be able to download and print a personalized annual participation report from the ABR Website at any time.
  • Lifetime-certified diplomates will not relinquish their original certification but will receive credit for MOC sooner than under the present system if they choose to participate. They will be reported as “meeting requirements” and able to print the MOC participation report beginning in their first year.
  • Finally, continuous certification will align certification status reporting more closely with requirements of the CMS, The Joint Commission, state licensing boards, and other institutions and credentialing organizations.