The American Board of Neurological Surgery (ABNS) was founded in 1940 to provide initial certification to practitioners of neurosurgery who meet its training and practice requirements. The broad aim of the Board is to encourage the study, improve the practice, elevate the standards, and advance the science of neurological surgery, thereby serving the cause of public health.
In the late 1990s, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) created the Task Force on Competence to assure that all certified specialists maintain satisfactory, up-to-date knowledge and skills throughout the span of their careers. All 24 ABMS member Boards, including the ABNS, agreed to develop a Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program or modify their recertification programs in that model. The expectation of MOC is that training and acquisition of medical practice knowledge and skill will begin in medical school, be enhanced in residency, and maintained throughout a specialist's career.
ABNS Directors realized that neurosurgeons would soon be required by regulatory bodies to participate in an MOC process. Recently the public, payors, health care organizations, and governmental agencies have called for periodic recertification of specialists. Consequently, development of the ABNS program was unanimously endorsed. Directors committed to making available to Diplomates a meaningful and practical MOC program, one that would take into account the concerns of Diplomates and the needs of the public. In addition, it must meet Board standards, as well as those established by the ABMS. The program was rolled out in 2006.
MOC fees are set in a manner intended solely to cover the costs of the MOC process. More generally, the ABNS endeavors to operate on an approximately "break even" basis and sets its fees and assessments to candidates and Diplomates accordingly. Furthermore, the ABNS does not profit from the sale or participation in any courses or publications related to MOC.