To participate in the MOC program, neurosurgeons must hold an ABNS certificate, a currently valid unrestricted license to practice medicine in the States where they practice, and unrestricted hospital privileges for a neurosurgeon. All Diplomates certified in 1999 and more recently have been awarded ten-year time-limited Certificates. They must enroll in MOC the year after achieving initial certification in order to maintain their certificates. Non-time-limited Certificate holders may voluntarily begin their participation in the program at any time and are highly encouraged to do so.
MOC consists of three successive three-year mini-cycles and a final tenth year. The requirements of each mini-cycle are fulfilled independent. In the tenth year participants have no requirements, other than successfully passing the Cognitive Examination if they did not do so in year eight or nine. New time-limited Certificates are awarded to Diplomates at the end of the tenth year after they successfully complete all MOC requirements, including paying dues each year. The first three-year mini-cycle of the next ten-year MOC timeframe begins January 1 of the next year, and a new on-line application must be filled out to begin.
To begin, participants complete a web-based application found at MyMOC on the Board's website, www.abns.org. From then on, they can track their progress through the requirements at MyMOC.
- Time Limited Certificates In order to maintain ten-year time-limited Certificates, Diplomates must participate in MOC. The ten-year MOC cycle begins the January following certification. Individuals who have not completed all aspects of MOC, including passing the Cognitive Examination at the end of their ten-year cycle, may re-instate their Diplomate status only by earning a valid, new time-limited certificate - in other words, going through all of the requirements of initial certification just as they did after completing residency, including passing both the Primary and Oral Examinations.
- Non-Time-Limited Certificates These were issued to ABNS Diplomates certified prior to 1999. They are valid for the life of the individual and will not expire regardless of participation in MOC. Diplomates in this group are urged to participate in MOC. For them, the January of the year they enroll marks the beginning of their ten-year cycle. Once enrolled, they complete the same requirements as participants with time-limited certificates. Those who voluntarily participate in MOC will not lose their certificate if they drop out of the MOC process or fail the MOC cognitive examination.