Published 11/1/2012


In this feature, AAOS Now explores common misconceptions about the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery’s (ABOS) Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process.

MYTH: Lifetime certificate holders have no reason to participate in MOC.

FACT: The approximate 14,000 diplomates who hold lifetime certificates (ie, those who obtained their board certification before 1986) are not required by the ABOS to participate in the MOC process. Lifetime certificate holders will retain their board certification regardless of whether they participate.

And yet, according to ABOS Executive Director Shepard Hurwitz, MD, depending on factors such as where they practice, some lifetime certificate holders may find that groups other than the ABOS require them to participate in MOC.

“Some orthopaedists with lifetime certificates may be required by hospitals, insurers, or state licensure departments to participate in the MOC process as a condition of licensure or credentialing,” explained Dr. Hurwitz.

“We would like lifetime certificate holders to consider the ABOS as a resource for meeting local requirements,” he continued. “If new regulations arise related to hospital accreditation, we’re willing to help.”

Dr. Hurwitz encouraged all lifetime certificate holders to participate in MOC, even if their hospitals, states, or other groups do not require them to do so.

“One of the ways orthopaedists can show a concerted, conscientious effort to provide quality care is to participate in MOC,” he said. “It shows a dedication to providing good care, communicating effectively with patients, and safeguarding and improving safety and outcomes.”

Lifetime certificate holders who want to begin participating in MOC should register for MOC with the ABOS. Diplomates who have time-limited certificates should be somewhere in the 10-year MOC cycle and should be registered as MOC participants as well.

Registering is easy. Visit the ABOS online at www.abos.org and click on the “How to Sign up for MOC” icon at the top of the screen. Follow the prompts to register as an MOC participant.

Use the Learning Portfolio to manage MOC
The Learning Portfolio, a new member benefit from the Academy, provides an effective way to track your progress online as you fulfill MOC requirements. Based on your preferences, the Learning Portfolio helps you track CME credits earned through Academy and participating society programs, find a vast selection of educational courses and products offering CME credits, and receive alerts regarding your CME status. You can also add CME to your transcript that you earned through non-Academy providers, such as your hospital, specialty society, or state and regional societies.

Visit the Learning Portfolio at www.aaos.org/portfolio to see exactly where you are in your 10-year process and to find out which MOC deadlines are approaching.

If you have questions about the Learning Portfolio, contact the Academy’s member services department at member@aaos.org or call 847-384-4259, Monday through Friday, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., CDT.

Have questions about MOC?
No matter what you hear about MOC, the ABOS is the only official source of information. If you have a question, be sure to contact the ABOS—either by phone at 919-929-7103 or online at

Editor’s Note: For more information about MOC, see “Dec. 15 MOC Deadline Reminder” and “Your MOC Status is Going Public in 2013.”