MOC Application, Performance Pathway, & Certification Descriptions
Updates & Special Topics
Background on Performance Pathway:
ABOG introduced a pilot program in 2016 to enhance the relevance of continuing certification (MOC) to specialty and subspecialty practices. The now-permanent program integrates the self-assessment (Part II) and external assessment (Part III) MOC requirements to allow you to continuously demonstrate your knowledge of the specialty.
The program was approved in May 2018 for permanent adoption by the American Board of Medical Specialties and is now referred to as the Performance Pathway. The Year 6 Exam has not been eliminated; but you do have another way to meet the exam requirement if you choose to participate in Performance Pathway and if you meet ABOG's Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment (articles) performance threshold during the first 5 years of the self-assessment component. If you're eligible to participate, you must maintain your performance threshold throughout Year 6.
Other MOC Topics
Starting a New MOC Cycle
If you're an ABOG Diplomate who completed the MOC 6-year cycle in 2017, you'll enter a new 6-year MOC cycle in 2018. This year, you'll be in MOC Cycle 2, Year 1, and therefore be designated as being in MOC 2.1.
If you completed your MOC 6-year cycle in year 2016, you will now be in MOC Cycle 2, Year 2 and designated as MOC 2.2.
MOC Part IV Alternatives
ABOG continues to expand the list of approved activities which can be used to complete the Part IV: Improvement in Medical Practice requirements. The number of hours required for approval of simulation course credit has been decreased to four hours of instruction. Go to the tab titled "Simulation Courses" for details.
Clinically Inactive and Retired Diplomates
Clinically inactive and retired diplomates who want to maintain their certification must have an active medical license to practice in at least one state.
Applying to MOC & Requirements
Applying to the MOC program:
1. ABOG's MOC staff will send you an email notification in January when it's time to apply.
2. Log into your profile in ABOG's physician portal and complete the MOC application and pay the annual program fee.
3. November 15th of any given year is the deadline to complete the application.
4. The earlier in the year that you apply and begin completing MOC program requirements, the better. The deadline to complete annual MOC requirements is December 15th of any given year.
You have to apply to participate in the MOC process each year. The application is made available on your physician portal page. Applications for 2018 were available beginning in January 2018 and are due with the program fee no later than November 15, 2018. Failure to submit an application by this date will result in loss of certification. There are no late deadlines and no late fees.
Requirements for All Applicants for the MOC Program
You have to meet all of the following requirements to participate in the MOC process:
1. Hold an active, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in any and all states or territories (United States or a province of Canada) in which the physician holds a current medical license.
- You may still participate in MOC under an Administrative license depending on your specific state requirements and regulations. An approval from the ABOG Credentials Committee will be required to participate in MOC.
- ABOG may, at its discretion, allow a physician practicing medicine exclusively outside the United States, its territories, and Canada to be certified or maintain certification without a full and unrestricted license in at least one jurisdiction in the United States, its territories, or Canada provided that all of the following requirements are met:
- You have complied with all legal and regulatory requirements governing the practice of medicine in the country where you are practicing and have an unrestricted license to practice medicine in that country.
- Any prior license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada has not been revoked or suspended, voluntarily surrendered, or allowed to expire to avoid disciplinary action(s).
2. Be of good moral and ethical character.
3. For physicians with hospital staff membership:
- If you have unsupervised hospital privileges, those privileges must be unrestricted in each hospital in which patient care had been conducted during the past 12 months.
- If you must have your practice monitored in Focused Professional Practice Evaluation (FPPE) identified by Ongoing Professional Practice Evaluations (OPPE) processes, this will be reviewed by ABOG to determine if the required monitoring or proctoring represents restrictions to clinical practice.
4. For physicians under investigation:
- If you have resigned from a hospital staff or other healthcare organization, including all membership organizations (e.g., ACOG), while under investigation for ethical, moral, professional, or other alleged misbehavior or substandard patient care, a letter from that hospital or other organization stating that they are no longer pursuing the investigation must accompany the MOC application.
- The application will not be approved until and unless such documentation is received from the healthcare organization. If the information is not received by November 15, 2018, regardless of the reason for non-receipt, you will not participate in the MOC process and will lose Board certification on December 31, 2018.
5. For clinically active physicians without medical staff membership:
- If you have no hospital practice or medical staff membership (outpatient care only) or are clinically inactive, an explanation must be submitted with the application.
- Another ABOG Diplomate in good standing, excluding a spouse or other family member, must attest in Year 1 of each MOC cycle that you are of good moral and ethical character and have elected to have limited or no inpatient hospital practice.
6. For clinically inactive physicians:
- If you are not actively involved in the clinical practice of medicine, but choose to participate in the MOC process (e.g., dean, hospital administrator, health plan administrator, researcher, or sabbatical), a letter of explanation must be submitted with the application.
- Another ABOG Diplomate in good standing, excluding a spouse or other family member, must attest in a letter that you are of good moral and ethical character and that you have elected not to have a clinical practice.
- You will continue to be a Board-certified physician, but your certification status will indicate that you are not in clinical practice.
- If you return to clinical practice, a letter must be sent to ABOG indicating that fact.
7. For physicians in international practice settings:
- In Year 1 of each 6-year MOC cycle, if you are practicing in a country other than the United States and its territories or Canada, you must submit a letter with the application from a responsible senior official in the hospital or clinical setting where you practice.
- The letter must attest that you have independent, unsupervised privileges for the practice of Obstetrics and Gynecology and that your practice of medicine meets all local standards.
8. ABOG requires documented evidence concerning your professional standing, moral and ethical character, and hospital privileges (if applicable).
- This evidence may be collected by ABOG confidentially from administrative officers of organizations and hospitals where you are known and practice, from state and local medical boards, from medical societies, and from other appropriate sources of information.
9. By agreeing with the Terms of Application, you must also attest online that in the past 12 months there have been no:
- disciplinary or non-disciplinary actions (e.g., reprimand, warning, admonishment, restriction, condition, suspension, probation, surrender, denial of renewal, or revocation) on any medical license held in any state or province
- misdemeanor or felony indictment, plea, or conviction
- controlled substance, drug, or alcohol-related offenses
- limitations, restrictions, denial of renewal, suspensions, or loss of hospital privileges.
If you are unable to attest to these statements online, you may not be approved to participate in the MOC process.
10. If you apply for MOC, you must also attest that you agree to adhere to all ABOG rules and policies.
Watch this video to learn more about Performance Pathway.
When you apply for MOC in Year 6, your Performance Pathway eligibility is displayed on your application. Performance Pathway is an optional way to meet your Year 6 Exam requirement. If eligible, you have to enroll in the pathway program. You do have the option to decline participation in the pathway program and to go ahead and take the MOC Exam.
To be eligible, you must have scored an aggregated average of 86% or higher on your Part II article assessment questions over Years 1-5 of your current MOC cycle and maintain that threshold in Year 6 as well. Current running average and historical year-by-year scoring information is available on your personal page.
You will be ineligible to participate in the Performance Pathway if you have any of the following:
- A probationary certification status
- A current state board disciplinary action on your license, such as a revocation, suspension, probation, denial of renewal, or surrender
- A felony criminal charge, conviction, or pleading
If you decline to participate in the Performance Pathway, or you're ineligible to participate, you must pay the MOC Exam fee in addition to the annual MOC fee, and you must take and pass the MOC Exam in your MOC Year 6. See MOC Deadlines and Fees for details.
If you are eligible and choose to participate in the Performance Pathway, you will not pay the additional MOC Exam fee. But you must meet the MOC Part I Professionalism and Professional Standing requirements. You must have completed the MOC Part IV Improvement in Practice requirements for the cycle. You must also meet or exceed the required 86% threshold in MOC Part II Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment.
Diplomates Who Are Not in MOC Year 6
- If you're in Years 1-5 of your MOC cycle, you should be aware of the initial answer threshold of 86% used to determine Performance Pathway eligibility.
- You're encouraged to maintain a high-performance threshold to ensure Performance Pathway eligibility.
- ABOG may choose to use different eligibility criteria for the Performance Pathway in the future.
For Diplomates Taking the MOC Exam
If you don't qualify for the Performance Pathway, or elect not to participate, you must pass the MOC Exam by mid-December. Check MOC Fees & Deadlines for this year's exam date requirement.
- You'll be required to pay $175 to cover the administrative costs of preparing the Exam (in addition to paying the MOC application fee). This cost is exclusive of the annual $265 fee to participate in MOC.
- When your application has been approved (usually taking fewer than 72 hours), information will be sent by email explaining the process to schedule a test at a Pearson VUE test center. Reservations at each test center are scheduled on a first-come, first-served basis. You are encouraged to schedule your examination as soon as possible after receiving the notice of approval.
- If you don't pass the MOC Exam, it may be retaken up to 4 more times during the MOC year. The original test fee of $175 covers the costs of all repeat Exams. The last day a repeat Exam can be taken is in December. Check MOC Fees & Deadlines for this year's dates.
- If you don't pass the MOC Part III Exam by the ABOG-assigned date in December (check MOC Fees & Deadlines for this year's dates), your certificate will expire. If you want to regain certification, you must apply through the Re-entry process to reinstate your Board certifications.
- In addition to passing the MOC Exam, if you're in MOC Year 6, you must also complete the Part I Professionalism and Professional Standing; Part II Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment; and Part IV Improvement in Medical Practice assignments.
An MOC practice test is available in the "Assessment of Knowledge, Judgement, and Skills" section of your physician portal personal page. Just look for the words "Practice Test." The exam structure including exam content, grading, and test selectives can be found in Assessment, Judgement, and Skills.
Background Information and Details about ABOG's Performance Pathway (the "Pilot" program*)
*Approved for permanent adoption by the American Board of Medical Specialties in May 2018.
- ABOG introduced this special program in 2016 to enhance and streamline the continuing certification (MOC) process. The program integrates the self-assessment and external assessment requirements to encourage you to continuously demonstrate your knowledge of the specialty.
- The program maintains a rigorous and relevant continuous professional development process that is critical to providing high-quality patient care. Performance Pathway emphasizes demonstration of knowledge throughout the entire MOC cycle. ABOG believes that this program helps ensure that you're maintaining a high level of current medical knowledge and are able to apply that information in your practice.
Time-Limited & Non-Time-Limited Certifications
Important Information About Your Time-Limited Specialty and Subspecialty Certifications
- Certification by ABOG and participation in the MOC process is voluntary.
- Certification is a continuous process and certificates expire on a yearly basis.
- If you passed the Certifying (Oral) Exams in November 2017, December 2017, or January 2018, you gain certification that will expire on December 31, 2018, unless you successfully meet all of the 2018 MOC requirements.
- Please make sure you stay up-to-date with your MOC program information each year. Check the website regularly for updates.
- Keep your Personal Profile updated. Notify ABOG of changes in address, email address, or telephone numbers by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
- ABOG is not under obligation to notify you of impending loss of certification, deadlines, or changes in your certification status.
- ABOG will attempt to email reminders to those who may be in jeopardy of losing certification using the email address provided at the time of their most recent MOC application.
- ABOG is not responsible for you not receiving such emails due to change of email address, loss of the notice due to spam or other filters, or any other email problem.
- You must enroll in MOC no later than November 15 of the year your certificate expires.
- All assignments for the MOC year must be completed and submitted by December 15. Failure to complete and submit all MOC assignments by the deadline may result in loss of board certification.
- As a Diplomate enrolled in MOC, you have a Personal Page dashboard showing your MOC progress.
- Log in at abog.org using your ABOG ID number and password.
- Review your dashboard at least quarterly.
- You'll have access to all MOC assignments when the application process has been completed, and you've been approved to participate.
- If you're a Diplomate in MOC Year 6 who is required to take the MOC exam, apply no later than Nov. 15, 2018, and successfully pass no later than Dec. 15, 2018.
- Detailed information about the application process, fee, and test content can be found in the Assessment of Knowledge, Judgement, and Skills, including Exam Blueprint (content outline).
- If you retire from practice or temporarily are clinically inactive (e.g., not involved in the provision, supervision, or administration of patient care), you can request to participate in MOC activities.
- View additional information by clicking through and selecting the tab titled Non-Clinical, Temporarily Clinically Inactive, or Retired..
- If your certification has been expired less than 6 years, you can regain certification through the Re-Entry process. This requires passing a computer-based exam and completing the MOC Year 1 requirements in the same year.
If you achieved specialty certification prior to 1986, you hold a certificate that is not time-limited. Your certificate doesn't expire. However, if you choose to participate in some or all of the parts of the MOC process, this won't change your certification status in any manner. The duration of your certification remains unlimited.
If you hold a non-time-limited basic certificate and want to participate in MOC, simply email email@example.com. You may participate in MOC Parts I, II, III, and IV, and following are the tasks involved.
- Submit appropriate additional materials and pay the application fees.
- Read the section about Applying to MOC for details about the application process.
- To be designated as meeting MOC requirements, you'll need to participate in all parts of MOC applicable to your practice. In most cases, this will require participation in MOC Parts I, II, III, and IV.
- In MOC Year 6, Diplomates are required to pass the Part III MOC exam.
- If you have non-time-limited certification, you're eligible to participate in the MOC Performance Pathway ("Pilot") (look for the tabbed section on this page titled Performance Pathway), which offers opportunity for exemption from the MOC Exam in Year 6.
- If you're a Diplomate with non-time-limited certification who prefers to participate only in Part II to earn CME credit hours, you'll need to contact ABOG for approval at firstname.lastname@example.org. Participation in Part II alone will not meet the criteria to be designated as participating in MOC.
Ineligibility & Expired Certificates
Failure to Complete the MOC Process and Loss of Board Certification
If you fail to enter into MOC or fail to successfully complete all of the required assignments in any given MOC year, you will lose your Diplomate status. That is, you'll no longer be board-certified.
- Example: A Diplomate was required to be enrolled in the MOC Year 1 process in 2017 to maintain certification. An application was completed and the fee paid, but the physician did not complete the Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment assignment by the deadline. That physician's certificate will expire, and he will no longer be board-certified as of Jan. 1, 2018.
Diplomate status may be regained by completing the Re-Entry process. However, during the interval between January 1st and the completion of the re-entry process, you are not board-certified and may not advertise or assert Diplomate status.
As part of the Re-Entry process, documentation that the cause for the initial disapproval has been resolved, dismissed, or expired must be submitted with the re-entry application.
If you are not admitted to the MOC process, you may appeal the decision by writing to the ABOG Executive Director within 90 days of notification of the action that is being appealed.
- The letter must set forth in detail the specific grounds on which the appeal is based.
- If it is determined by the Executive Director that the complaint is not an appealable issue, you will be notified by traceable mail within 30 working days.
- If the Executive Director determines that the appeal does involve an appealable issue, you will be notified by traceable mail within 30 working days. The process for consideration of the appeal is outlined in the ABOG Policy for Appeals.
If your certification expires during the appeal process, you will hold an expired certificate and must pass the re-entry examination to reinstate certification. If the appeal is successful, Diplomate status will be reinstated, and you must complete any incomplete yearly MOC assignments.
The following section applies to you if you are a previously-certified physician who has lost ABOG certification due to lack of participation in or failure to complete the MOC process. You are no longer a Diplomate of ABOG and may not advertise or otherwise designate that you are ABOG certified. Any designation or advertisement of expired ABOG certification must accurately communicate the dates that the certification commenced and ended.
Certification Expired Fewer than 6 Years
If you are seeking to regain certification, you must pass a secure re-entry computer-based examination and then complete the MOC Year 1 assignments in the year. Re-entry examinations will be given mid-January through June 30, 2019. All exams will be administered at Pearson VUE testing centers throughout the United States. Candidates may take the re-entry examination up to 3 times in a year to pass the examination. There is no additional charge for the additional examinations.
Applications for the re-entry examination will be available at ABOG.org beginning January 2019, but you must call the ABOG MOC Department (214-721-7510) for access to the online application.
- The final date to apply for the examination is June 16, 2019. No application will be accepted after this date.
- A non-refundable combined examination and MOC fee of $765 must be paid at the time of application. No application will be processed without payment of the application fee and submission of all required documents.
You will be sent an email after your application has been approved and the appropriate fee has been paid. The email will be sent to the email address provided as part of the application process.
- After the email is received, you should contact Pearson VUE to obtain a reservation for the examination. Instructions for contacting the testing company will be included in the email.
- Reservations at the testing centers are limited and are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Thus, there is no guarantee that a specific city site will be available.
- You are encouraged to complete your application process as soon as possible.
Re-Entry Certification Limits
If you successfully pass the re-entry examination in 2019, you will have your Diplomate status reinstated for the remainder of 2019 provided that you enter the MOC process in 2019 and complete the assignments. Diplomate status will be renewed annually provided that the MOC process is completed successfully each year.
Certification Expired for 6 or More Years
If you hold a certificate that has been expired for 6 or more years, you are not eligible to apply for the re-entry examination. You may re-establish Diplomate status only by taking and passing the Specialty Qualifying and Specialty Certifying Exams.