ABMS and specialty boards
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) assists 24 medical specialty boards in the development and use of standards in the ongoing evaluation and certification. Specialty boards certify physicians who have met specific requirements for practice in the specialty.
Maintenance of certification
Historically, most specialty boards provided one-time, “life-long” certification. With the practice of medicine evolving more rapidly, the 24 medical specialty boards agreed to move toward issuing time-limited certification. Physicians are now expected to meet a series of requirements set by their specialty board(s).
The MOC programs of all 24 specialty boards have the same four general requirements:
- Part I. Professionalism and Professional Standing (including holding a valid, unrestricted medical license)
- Part II. Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment - educational activities, including self-assessment of knowledge
- Part III. Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment, and Skills (primarily re-certification exam)
- Part IV. Improvement in Medical Practice - participate in assessing and improving health care
Specific requirements of individual boards vary
Individual boards continue to evolve their requirements, options and timelines. Therefore, physicians starting the recertification process in a specialty in one year may have specific requirements that differ from requirements applying to physicians starting the recertification process in earlier or subsequent years. Physicians participating in a specialty board’s MOC program must check the requirements that currently apply to them by logging onto their personal account on the website of the board.
ABMS National Program and Board listing
The Multi-Specialty Portfolio Approval Program Organization:
- Supports the ABMS Member Board community by setting standards for, identifying, creating opportunities for, and evaluating meaningful physician participation in organizational quality, safety, improvement, and CPD activities for continuous certification.
- Exemplifies collaboration, shared learning, innovation and improvement among the ABMS, ABMS Member Boards, health care organizations and medical professionals in pursuit of continuous certification and improved health of the public.
- Affords health care organizations the opportunity to support and encourage physician involvement in internal quality improvement (QI) projects and initiatives while simultaneously supporting Maintenance of Certification (MOC) for physicians across multiple ABMS specialties. The Portfolio Program is designed for organizations that develop and oversee the implementation of multiple physician-related quality improvement (QI) efforts. Organizations that are approved as a Portfolio Sponsor are committed to supporting physician involvement in quality improvement, improving patient care, and supporting physician participation in MOC.
Complete information about the National Program is available on the Portfolio Program website. A summary is provided below.
Currently participating in the Multi-specialty Part IV MOC Program are the American Boards of:
- American Board of Medical Specialties
- American Board of Pediatrics
- American Board of Allergy and Immunology (FAQ)
- American Board of Anesthesiology (FAQ)
- American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery
- American Board of Dermatology (FAQ (PDF))
- American Board of Emergency Medicine
- American Board of Family Medicine
- American Board of Internal Medicine
- American Board of Medical Genetics (FAQ)
- American Board of Neurological Surgery
- American Academy of Neurology
- American Board of Nuclear Medicine
- American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology
- American Board of Ophthalmology (FAQ)
- American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
- American Board of Otolaryngology
- American Board of Pathology
- American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
- American Board of Plastic Surgery
- American Board of Preventive Medicine
- American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (FAQ (PDF))
- American Board of Radiology
- American Board of Radiology (Diagnostic)
- American Board of Surgery (FAQ)
- American Board of Thoracic Surgery
- American Board of Urology
In addition to the common requirements under the Program, each board offers other options for physicians to engage in activities that provide Part IV credit.