Published 9/1/2012


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

MYTH: MOC requires orthopaedic surgeons to take call.

FACT: “The ABOS does not require orthopaedists to provide emergency coverage or indigent care as part of the MOC process,” said ABOS Executive Director Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD.

According to Dr. Hurwitz, the current peer review evaluation form, which is the foundation of the ABOS’ credentialing process, simply asks whether the candidate or diplomate accepts community responsibility for emergent orthopaedic care and indigent care.

“The purpose of this question is to gain feedback from fellow practitioners as well as administrators, clinical service chiefs, and emergency personnel about whether orthopaedic surgeons are fulfilling their obligations,” he said.

If a surgeon does not take call and has no obligations to an emergency department, hospital, or community, the ABOS rarely investigates; however, if the ABOS receives reports that a surgeon has agreed or is duty-bound to take call and is not honoring that obligation, the ABOS feels obliged to obtain more information.

“No single low score in the peer-review process leads to deferral or denial; the ABOS requires several low scores in different categories of behavior to take any adverse action at the credentialing level,” he added.

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 and 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
The AAOS Learning Portfolio 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 educational courses and products offering CME credits, and receive alerts about your CME status. Visit the Learning Portfolio at

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., CST.

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