Continuous Certification Program

 

Welcome to Continuous Certification!

 

As you know, the ABPS has been working hard to make positive changes to the former Maintenance of Certification program to make it more relevant to your practice, more cost-effective, and more convenient to participate. Now that these changes have been enacted, we’d like to take this opportunity to review these changes and explain how they affect diplomates individually in a bit more depth.

 

Lower Overall Cost

 

Under the old MOC Program, each activity had a cost associated with it, such as the Tracer Procedure Log, Exam Application, and Exam Registrations. These were on top of the annual fee. Starting in 2019, the Board has moved to a single annual fee instead of the a la carte activity fee schedule. The total overall cost of the Continuous Certification program will be $395 a year, with no additional fees later. This is an almost 15% discount to the previous fee structures, not to mention getting rid of those indirect costs: time away from the clinic, study guides, and travel to testing centers. The ABPS will have to dip into reserves to make this change happen, but the Board of Directors felt that it was important to keep fees as low as possible, despite increasing costs for examination administrations and these new initiatives to improve Continuous Certification.

 

Less Reporting Requirements

 

Previously, the Professional Standing Updates and Tracer Procedure Logs were required three times in a ten year cycle. The Board has reduced these to just two times each 10-year cycle. Diplomates will complete Professional Standing Updates in years 3 and 9, and the Practice Improvement activity will be required in years 3 and 6. A CME Update by itself will still be submitted in year 6, which directly imports any credits already in the ASPS system.

 

Added Flexibility

 

The ABPS has broadened the scope of the Practice Improvement requirement, allowing diplomates to fulfill these requirements by reporting what you are already doing to improve quality within your own practice. The Board recognizes that many diplomates are already regularly participating in quality improvement activities and wants to reward this. The acceptable alternatives to the Tracer Procedure Log include Quality Improvement (QI) publications, QI projects, or participation in an approved registry. The applications for these alternatives are available on your Practice Improvement page of the ABPS website.

 

New Self-Assessment Activity

 

The first Self-Assessment activity will be available online this April. You can log in and out as many times as necessary to complete the questions throughout the month of April. Instead of the previous 200-question secure exam taken in a testing center every ten years, the Board will offer 30 questions annually as part of a longitudinal learning program. Successfully completing eight of these assessments throughout your 10-year cycle will satisfy the once every 10 year exam component of Continuous Certification. If your current certificate expires in 2022 or later, we encourage you to complete all Self-Assessments available until the end of your certificate. Diplomates who expire in 2019, 2020, and 2021 will still take the 200-question Continuous Certification Exam and then begin the Self-Assessments at the start of their next certification cycle.

 

Studying Not Necessary

 

With this new testing format, there is no need to study ahead of time. Starting in 2019, all Continuous Certification examinations will have a new question format, where the diplomate is given the question and asked to answer. Everyone is then directed to the rationale which explains the question. If the diplomate answered wrong on the first attempt, they are given a second opportunity to answer correctly. The new 30 question assessments will provide immediate feedback and direct you to further educational resources. Why would ABPS do this? The Board wants to identify individual “knowledge gaps” at your baseline.  The artificial knowledge spike that occurs after cramming for an exam quickly fades away, however if the individual is repeatedly exposed to their weak areas, through the annual self-assessments, they will eventually resolve their knowledge gaps.

 

Ten-year Cycles

 

The new Continuous Certification program will continue to utilize a 10-year cycle. All diplomates will maintain their current status within their current cycle and all dated certificates will maintain their full 10 years. All requirements throughout the ten year cycle must be met before a new certificate is issued.

 

 

The ABPS appreciates all those diplomates who provided feedback and is pleased to offer these changes to make Continuous Certification more relevant, more convenient, and more valuable.

 

If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact the Board Office at staff@abplasticsurgery.org. We appreciate your feedback.

 

The ABMS has launched an initiative, Continuing Board Certification: Vision for the Future, to help develop a continuous certification system that is "meaningful, contemporary and relevant."  Additional information can be found here.