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Published 10/1/2012


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

MYTH: The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) and the ABOS are the same organization.

FACT: Not true, say ABOS Executive Director Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD and AAOS President John R. Tongue, MD.

“The AAOS and the ABOS are two separate organizations,” explained Dr. Hurwitz. “The AAOS is the preeminent provider of musculoskeletal education to orthopaedic surgeons and others through its Annual Meeting, multiple CME courses, medical and scientific publications, and electronic media materials.” All active Fellows of the AAOS must be board-certified by the ABOS.

The ABOS, explained Dr. Hurwitz, “serves the public and the orthopaedic profession by certifying that an orthopaedic surgeon has received the requisite training, and that an orthopaedist has the requisite knowledge and skills to obtain and maintain the designation of being board-certified.”

All diplomates of the ABOS—including all members of the ABOS board of directors and all oral examiners and question-writers—have to meet all the requirements and deadlines of MOC to remain board-certified orthopaedic surgeons.

Don’t forget to register for MOC
If you have a time-limited certificate, no matter when it expires, you should be somewhere in the 10-year MOC cycle—and you should be registered as a participant in MOC.

Even if you have a lifetime certificate, you may register with the ABOS to participate in MOC. Lifetime certificate holders are under no obligation to complete the process with a recertifying exam; therefore, these diplomates may decide whether to take the recertifying exam in the future.

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 programs, find a vast selection of educational courses and products offering CME credits, and receive alerts regarding your CME status.

Visit the Learning Portfolio at www.aaos.org/portfolio to see exactly where you are in your 10-year cycle 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