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- Inactive (Clinically or Surgically)
  4. Certified – Retired from Operative Practice
  5. 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 year 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 the annual requirements in a timely fashion shall be subject to the following with respect to participation classification:

  • A Diplomate who has participated in annual requirements 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 year while also working on the requirements of the newyear. The grace period fee must be paid as specified by the Board. This may be done three times during the ten-year MOC time-frame.
  • A Diplomate who has not participated during the previous year 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 annually may occur only three times in the ten-year MOC time frame.
  • 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- Inactive (Clinically or Surgically)

This category includes Diplomates who are clinically or surgically inactive for a period of time because they are participating in one of the activities listed below:

  • Engaged in research
  • Academic administration
  • Government policy work
  • Other activities that preclude or interfere with active clinical or surgical practice

In order to remain certified in this category, a Diplomate must inform the Board in writing of his or her intention to become clinically or surgically inactive, and of the likely duration of clinical/surgical inactivity.

Diplomates with time-limited Certificates who are listed as “Inactive” may be exempt from certain aspects of the ABNS MOC program (and/or the ABNS/ABPNS MOC program, as applicable) during the period in which they are Inactive, as permitted by the Board (in conjunction with the ABPNS, as
applicable) from time to time. The Board (in conjunction with the
ABPNS, as applicable) shall notify Inactive Diplomates of the
elements of MOC from which they are exempt (and those from
which they are not exempt) during the period of clinical/surgical
inactivity. The Board (in conjunction with the ABPNS, as applicable)
also shall notify such Diplomates of the steps they must take before
again being listed as “Active.”

4. 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.

5. 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.
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