American Board of Surgery Announces New Direction for Continuous Certification

July 08, 2017 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
July 8, 2017 - The American Board of Surgery (ABS) announces a new direction for our program of lifelong learning and continuous board certification, currently known as Maintenance of Certification. These changes are based on feedback received from diplomates (ABS-certified surgeons) and surgical organizations, including from a survey sent last fall to 5,000 ABS diplomates.

The changes are intended to offer surgeons greater flexibility and more practice-relevant options for continuing their certification, to support them in their goal of lifelong learning and high-quality patient care.

Changes now in effect:
  • Diplomates will be asked to report every five years, rather than every three years, regarding their professional standing, CME activities, and practice assessment participation. All diplomates will have their current reporting cycle extended by two years.
  • The requirement for self-assessment CME has been reduced by 50%, to 10 credits per year on average. Going forward, diplomates will be required to complete 150 Category 1 CME credits over a five-year cycle, of which 50 credits must include self-assessment (i.e., a quiz or test). Lowering the self-assessment requirement will allow diplomates more choice in selecting CME programs that best reflect their area of practice.

  • In addition, the following changes will be implemented as of 2018:

  • Diplomates will be offered alternatives to the secure recertification examination in general surgery currently required at 10-year intervals, with other specialties to be phased in when possible.
  • A 10-year secure examination will continue to be available for those diplomates who choose to use it.
  • The new assessment program will be designed with a focus on ongoing, high-value, practice-relevant learning. Diplomates will be solicited in the coming months to provide input on the creation of the new program.

  • See also our requirements page for more details. Each diplomate's personal login area will also be updated on the ABS website by August 1 to reflect the above changes.

    Beyond these efforts, the ABS will continue to explore additional options to make meeting the requirements for continuous board certification more convenient and beneficial to surgeons. The ABS is dedicated to the creation of a flexible process that supports our diplomates and values their time and resources, while upholding our commitment to the public to maintain high standards for board certification.

    We look forward to working with our diplomates to shape this new program. Further updates will be made available in the weeks ahead.

    About the ABS
    The American Board of Surgery ( is an independent, nonprofit organization founded in 1937 for the purpose of certifying individuals who have met a defined standard of education, training and knowledge in the field of surgery. Surgeons certified by the ABS have completed at least five years of surgical training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS. They must then maintain their board certification through ongoing learning and practice improvement activities.

    The ABS offers board certification in general surgery, vascular surgery, pediatric surgery, surgical critical care, complex general surgical oncology, surgery of the hand, and hospice and palliative medicine. It is one of the 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties.

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