Changes in Board Certification – Maintenance of Certification

The old adage “nothing ever stays the same” holds true for us in the field of medicine. One might argue more so than any other chosen professional field.  Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is not a new term to those in the field of medical staff services.  The introduction dates back to the year 2000 when the 24 Member Board of ABMS agreed to evolve their re-certification programs to one of continuous professional developmentABMS Maintenance of Certification ® (ABMS MOC®).

Rather than sitting for board exams following completion of residency and re-certifying within a specified window for the specific specialty, the ABMS MOC assures that the physician is committed to lifelong learning and competency in a specialty and/or sub-specialty. ABMS MOC requires ongoing measurement of six core competencies. Medical Staff Professionals (MSPs) will recognize these from the Joint Commission Standards.

The Six Core Competencies

Maintenance Based on Six Core Competencies

Measurement of these competencies happens in a variety of ways, some of which vary according to the specialty. This is carried out by all Member Boards using a four-part process that is designed to keep certification continuous. In 2006, all Member Boards received approval of their ABMS MOC program plans. The boards are now in the process of implementation.

Part I: Licensure and Professional Standing
Part II: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment
Part III: Cognitive Expertise
Part IV: Practice Performance Assessment

Although we’ve been introduced to this idea since the beginning of 2000, the challenges still remain on two fronts:  1) the provider and 2) the medical staff services professional (MSPs).  The specific challenge for MSPs is in tracking on-going certification.

In a recent conversation with Michael Coyne, ABMS Product Management and Business Development (, MPR learned certain boards recommend verifying their diplomats on an annual basis on or near mid-February of each calendar year.

In an effort to keep accurate records on all provider board certifications, MPR will use CertiFacts for primary source verification of all ABMS Board Certification and perform the following:

1)    For providers with a lifetime board certification with no “end” date, we will use February 15th as the expiration to check the board certification (via CertiFacts) for renewals.

2)    For providers with a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) we will use the re-verification date as the expiration to check the board certification for renewals.

3)    For providers with a time limited certification, we will use the expiration date listed on the board certification verification.

This approach should assure we are routinely aware of all board certification expirations and afford us the opportunity to meet our client needs in supplying the most current document for the credential file.

If you would like to read more about the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process, please contact the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) at or contact ABMS Solutions at (800) 722-2267.


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