Get to Know the ABPN Requirements for Maintenance of Certification

September 30, 2008


This is the first in a series of articles on the requirements of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) for Maintenance of Certification. The MOC program has evolved since the AAN last reported on it in 2006. Subsequent articles in this series will focus on the main components of the MOC program and highlight AAN programs and resources available to help support neurologists through the process.

What is Maintenance of Certification?

Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is an initiative of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) aimed at insuring that physician specialists offer quality patient care through an ongoing process of self-improvement. MOC was mandated by the ABMS to replace the recertification process.

All certificates issued by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN) after October 1, 1994, are 10-year, time-limited certificates and expire on December 31, 10 years from the year of the examination. Diplomates who are not recertified before their certificates expire are no longer Board certified in that area.

MOC is an ongoing process through which a diplomate's credentials, licensure, and professional standing are verified and his or her knowledge and practice performance are evaluated. MOC is comprised of four components:

  • Evidence of Professional Standing
  • Evidence of Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning
  • Evidence of Cognitive Expertise
  • Evidence of Performance in Practice

What is the purpose of MOC?

With so much attention on medical errors and liability issues, as well as spiraling health care costs, the public is demanding that their physicians demonstrate expertise and competence. The ABMS and the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) established the MOC program as a professional response to the need for public accountability and transparency. The program is designed to document physician competence and improve medical care. The MOC program is recognized as an important quality marker by insurers, hospitals, and quality and credentialing organizations.

How does the AAN help members with their MOC needs?

The AAN offers many resources to help members meet their MOC needs. For example, all AAN CME programs meet the MOC requirements for the lifelong learning component. The new NeuroSAE™ Self-Assessment Examination in Clinical Neurology is designed to help members meet the self-assessment component for MOC. The content outline is based on the one used by the ABPN for the cognitive expertise component of the MOC. The AAN recently debuted an online CME tracker system that will help members keep track of their CME earned for the MOC program. The system allows members to easily input their non-AAN CME credits earned. These credits can then be tracked along with AAN CME credits, which are automatically entered for members. Future articles will detail AAN resources related to the MOC program.

Find additional information or visit the ABPN website. The ABPN is the official source for up-to-date information regarding MOC requirements, which are subject to change. Visit the ABPN website frequently for current information, and contact the ABPN directly if you have specific questions regarding your certification.