Categories of Certification

Certification And State Licensure

Requirements for certification and MOC are distinct from those for license. While certification and participation in MOC are voluntary processes, licensure is legislatively mandated and falls under the jurisdiction of each State where the physician practices.

Individual neurosurgeons are classified by the ABNS into four distinct categories:

  1. Currently Certified – Participating in Maintenance of Certification
  2. Currently Certified – Not participating in Maintenance of Certification
  3. Certified – Retired from Operative Practice
  4. Not Certified

1. Currently Certified – Participating in Maintenance of Certification

These are Diplomates who have paid their annual fees and are in the process of completing MOC requirements in a timely fashion for each three-year mini-cycle within the ten-year cycle.

2. Currently Certified – Not Participating in Maintenance of Certification

This classification consists of Diplomates who are not participating in MOC and have either non-time-limited Certificates or time-limited Certificates that have not yet expired. MOC participants who fail to meet the requirements of a three-year mini-cycle in a timely fashion shall be subject to the following with respect to participation classification:

  • A Diplomate who has participated in a three-year mini-cycle but is delinquent in some of its components will be notified of his or her delinquencies. The Diplomate may enter a six month grace period to fulfill all the requirements of that mini-cycle while also working on the requirements of the new mini-cycle. The grace period fee must be paid as specified by the Board. This may be done twice during the ten-year MOC time-frame
  • A Diplomate who has not participated during the previous three-year mini-cycle will be notified of his or her non-participation. In order to be reinstated, the individual must pay a re-entry fee and fulfill such other requirements as the Board may establish to prove evidence of professional standing, lifelong learning, and satisfactory performance in practice. Failure to participate in a mini-cycle may occur only once in the ten-year MOC time frame.
  • A Diplomate who falls into either of the above categories, either reinstated or partially delinquent, will be classified as "Certified – Participating in MOC" during the entire three-year mini-cycle. Over the following twelve months, he or she will be classified as "Certified - Not Participating in MOC"; if the requirements for re-instatement or the grace period have not been met. New three-year mini-cycles and the entire MOC cycle will begin and end on the same schedules as if the Diplomate had no deficiency.
  • A Diplomate who never begins MOC will be classified as "Certified – Not Participating in MOC". If the Diplomate holds a time-limited Certificate, he or she will be so classified until the Certificate expires. At that time, he or she will no longer be an ABNS Diplomate.

3. Certified – Retired

This category refers to Diplomates who have retired from the practice of neurosurgery but were certified and in good standing at the time of retirement. In order to remain certified, they must:

  • Inform the ABNS in writing of their intention to retire,
  • Execute the ABNS standard retiree form thereby warranting that they will forever cease the practice of neurosurgery.
  • Exchange their Certificates for a Certificate stating "Retired in Good Standing",

Individuals who elect this status and comply with these requirements will not be required to participate in MOC and will be listed as "Certified – Retired" on the ABNS website. If they later resume the practice of neurosurgery, they will have their Certificates permanently revoked unless they:

  • Petition the ABNS for re-instatement of their original Certificates prior to resuming practice,
  • Re-instatement is approved by the ABNS,
  • Comply fully with any conditions imposed by the ABNS in connection with such re-instatement.

4. Not Certified

This category includes:

  • Diplomates whose Certificates have been suspended or revoked.
  • Diplomates whose time-limited Certificates have expired, and they have not been awarded new time-limited Certificates due to their failure to complete the MOC process successfully.
  • Neurosurgeons who have never been ABNS certified. Individuals in this category include those who have never sought certification, as well as those who never completed the certification process. Such individuals will not appear on any database or listing maintained by the ABNS.