Quick Tips & FAQs: Continuous Certification

An individual tracking page is available upon secure log in to the Board's website. Log in to review requirements by calendar year.  

  • Activities are required in Years 3, 6, & 9 of the 10-year cycle in order to continue certification for an additional 10 years.
  • Log in to your personalized tracking page on the Board’s website to view current requirements and complete online activities.
  • The Board will send email reminders throughout the year in which requirements are due.
  • Additional questions may be directed to staff@abplasticsurgery.org

*************************

The ABPS will convert to a single annual fee that is a 15% reduction of the current 10-year total fee structure. The new annual fee of $395 will begin in 2019 and be required for all diplomates in the Continuous Certification program regardless of the year of expiration for their current cycle, with no additional fees being charged for Continuous Certification activities or the exam. The ABPS will continue efforts to reduce fees.

************************* 

  • Log in to the Board’s website to access your tracking page. All activities are completed online.
  • Refer to Activities Booklet 

 

Step I: Tracer Procedure Log (Years 3 and 6)

  • Select one tracer procedure
    • Enter data from 10 consecutive patient charts (within the last 3 years)
    • Review Benchmarking Report
    • Complete approved educational activity aligned with the tracer procedure
    • Complete the Action Plan for Improvement

Step 2: Professional Standing Update (Years 3 and 9 - CME only in Year 6)

  • If NOT selected for audit: answer questions, upload CME documentation only.
  • If SELECTED for audit: answer questions, upload all supporting documentation.
  • Finalize the Professional Standing Update.

Step 3: Self-Assessment (Annually)

  • 30 questions completed annually
  • A minimum of 8 assessments per 10-year cycle required to satisfy 10-year exam

 

Print your Annual Confirmation of Participation Letter once all activities are completed

*************************

  • PA-PS = Practice Assessment in Plastic Surgery
    • Tracer Procedure Log - a self-assessment activity requiring a structured review of 10 cases on a specific procedure of your choice.
    • Benchmarking report compares data to that of your peers.
      • Data Pearls are provided within the benchmarking report, highlighting practice data and practice standards.
    • Educational Activity - completion of an approved course or article related to the tracer procedure. 
    • Action Plan - Allows you to document plan for practice improvement.
  • The Program is designed for diplomates to re-measure in three years and validate any practice improvement.

*************************

  • List medical licenses, hospital privileges, outpatient accreditation, 3 peers and advertising material.
  • Upload CME report from an accredited CME provider. Automatic transfer of your CME records from ASPS now available.

*************************

  • 10% of diplomates completing the Professional Standing update annually are randomly audited. 
  • The Year 9 Professional Standing Update of the 10-year cycle will serve as an audit for all diplomates in place of the previously required exam application.
  • In addition to CMEs, you must also upload copies of medical license(s), hospital privilege letters, outpatient accreditation certificates, peer evaluations and advertising material. 
  • All documents must be uploaded as PDF files. 
  • Contact the Board Office if you need assistance scanning or saving documents as PDF.

*************************

  • You may upload a CME report from an accredited CME Provider
  • If you are a member of ASPS, you may import your records automatically.
  • You may also upload CME certificates individually as PDF files.
  • CMEs must be documented n years 3, 6, and 9 of the 10-year certification cycle.
  • REQUIRED over the course of 3 years:
    • At least 60 hours in Category I
    • At least 50 hours in Plastic Surgery activities
    • At least 20 hours in Patient Safety activities

************************* 

  • Links will become available as you progress through the Continuous Certification process. 
  • For example:
    • The Benchmarking Report, Educational Activity, and Action Plan links are not available until you finalize the tracer procedure log.
    • The Confirmation of Completion Letter is not available until all requirements are met in the calendar year.

*************************

  • The registration form will be available to eligible diplomates in January of the exam year if all activities are current 
  • Required with form:
    • All hospital appointment letters verifying active, admitting privileges in plastic surgery from all hospitals held during the examination.
    • Outpatient accreditation certificates - accreditation must be current through the examination.
    • State medical licenses - must be current through the examination.

*************************

  • Under the new internet-based testing format, the study material is incorporated into the exam which precludes the need for additional study. However, the following options are available for those who wish to prepare for the exam:
    • ASPS Exam Study Guide - single modules corresponding to exam modules are available. The study guide may be purchased on the ASPS website https://www.plasticsurgery.org
    • CME articles in the journals for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery and Aesthetic Surgery

************************* 

  • The examination is internet-based and administered online throughout the month of April.
  • The examination may be taken from home or office and accessed as often as needed to complete.

*************************

Why do I have to participate in Continuous Certification? 

  • The goal of Continuous Certification for all 24 member boards of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is that lifelong learning and practice self-assessment helps to improve patient care. 
  • More than 800,000 physicians are Board Certified by an ABMS Member Board.
  • Currently, over 550,000 physicians across ABMS specialties have met the requirements or are engaged in Continuous Certification program activities.

************************* 

The Board will offer credit to satisfy Professionalism and Lifelong Learning requirements if already completed through the American Board of Surgery, or another ABMS member board.

Contact the Board Office at staff@abplasticsurgery.org for assistance.

************************* 

Diplomates who successfully complete a Quality Improvement (QI) effort will now receive credit for satisfying the Board's Part IV Practice Assessment Module. 

 

You may submit an application through the Board's QI program:

Application for Part IV credit for QI project

Application for Part IV credit for QI publication 

Application for Part IV credit for QI registry

 

Contact the Board Office at staff@abplasticsurgery.org for assistance.

 

************************* 

  • Diplomates with time-limited certificates are required to participate in Continuous Certification.
  • Lifetime certificate holders are strongly encouraged to participate on a voluntary basis. 
    • Directors, Advisory Council members and Examiners are required to participate in Continuous Certification whether they have time-limited or lifetime certification.
    • The Board of Directors of ASPS, PSF, ASAPS, AAPS, and all Program Directors are strongly encouraged to participate in Continuous Certification.

*************************

  • Continuous Certification serves as an important marker for a higher standard of care. Patients, physicians, health care providers, insurers, and quality organizations look for these markers as the best measure of a physician’s knowledge, experience and skills to provide quality health care.
  • Physician benefits from participation include:
    • Focused learning based on individual practice needs
    • Increased practice-based and clinical efficiencies
    • Enhanced communication with colleagues, patients, and caregivers
    • Better working relationships within the system of care
  • All diplomates have a Continuous Certification status reported on the ABPS website and the ABMS website. Diplomates who are participating are distinguished from those who are not. 
      • More than 47,000 consumers/patients search the ABPS website annually.
      • More than 800,000 consumers/patients visit  the ABMS website annually, www.certificationmatters.org