Frequently Asked Questions

Why is Part IV of MOC also called 'The Road to Maintaining Excellence'?

ACOG and ABOG recognize that our members and Diplomates have already demonstrated a certain level of excellence by virtue of passing their board certification parts I and II and becoming Diplomates of the Board and Fellows of the College. This program is designed to reinforce that they are continuing to maintain this excellence, thus the name with emphasis upon maintaining their level of excellence.


How does a module work?

A physician selects a topic from the list of available modules at http://moc.acog.org. Once selected, the physician will be asked to review up to ten charts of patients they have managed with a specific condition covered in the chosen topic. These patients can be from their own practice or from an associate's or group practice, but the physician must have participated in a significant portion of the care of this patient. There will also be approximately two to four key references, as well as three to four key points, addressing the management of the condition. Next, the physician will be asked a series of questions about patient management in a yes/no format. Finally, the physician will be asked to attest that they reviewed the required number of patient charts/records and that they completed the module. This is known as Phase I of Part IV of MOC, "The Road to Maintaining Excellence."

Six months after submitting Phase I of a module, you will again be asked to complete Phase II for that specific module. This entails answering a one question attestation as to whether you have incorporated the principles or guidelines from the module into your current practice. This will not entail an additional chart review! At this point, the module is considered complete, and you will receive an email indicating the 3 CME credits earned. Once you have completed a module, ACOG will submit your information to ABOG and the module will show up as complete in your MOC profile.


How much does this program cost?

The good news is that for ACOG members, there is no cost for the Road to Maintaining Excellence program. If a diplomate is not an ACOG member, the cost is $390 per year.


How do I participate in the Road to Maintaining Excellence if I am a Board certified subspecialist?

You will follow the same general program for MOC with only a difference in the type of modules you select. As stated previously, 5 subspecialist and 2 general practice modules must be completed over the 6-year period for Part IV.


How many module topics are there to choose from?

Beginning in 2008, approximately 50 general practice (obstetrics, gynecology, office practice/primary care, ethics, communication, and patient safety) and 30 subspecialist modules (MFM, REI, and ONC) were published online. Each year, additional modules will be added and available modules will be reviewed to ensure they reflect current best practices.


What if my certificate is not time-limited?

If your certificate is not time-limited, meaning you were certified before 1986, then you do not have to participate in the MOC program. You can participate if your state or hospital has an MOC requirement. You can also voluntarily participate in the MOC process to challenge yourself, assess your practice, and earn CME credits. Again, you must register for MOC with ABOG before you will have access to the Road to Maintaining Excellence online modules.


What happens if I decide not participate?

If you have a time-limited certificate, ABMS will be notified that you are no longer Board certified. If you are a Fellow of ACOG, Board certification is required. If you are no longer Board certified, then you will also lose your Fellowship status and will be transferred to an appropriate 'other' category in the ACOG database.


What about diplomates who are not clinically active but need or desire to remain Board certified?

They will still be required to complete Parts I, II, and III of MOC. Thereafter, they will have an asterisk placed after their name with a statement that they are currently not clinically active. If they resume clinical activity later, Part IV will be mandatory.


What about retiring physicians?

If a physician with a time-limited certificate wishes to retire, they must notify ABOG of the pending retirement date. Failure to do so will result in ABOG reporting that their certificate has expired.


When should I register for MOC?

You should register with the Board no later than January of the year your certificate expires. In fact, registering before January will ensure that you can begin MOC at the start of the new year. For example, if your certificate expires in December 2012, the 2012 MOC application will be available in November 2011 at www.abog.org. This application ensures you have access to the MOC part 4 modules in the upcoming year.


Can I redo a module if it is updated during my current 6-year cycle?

The Road to Maintaining Excellence is a continuous quality improvement program, therefore repeating a module, even if it is recently updated, is not allowed. However, an updated module may be selected during your next 6-year cycle.


What if ABOG/ACOG updates a module while I am in the process of my chart review?

You will be allowed to complete the module in the format you begin it in. You can do the updated module during your next 6-year MOC cycle.


What if I begin a module and decide not to complete it?

After choosing a module, you may discover that you do not have the patient base to complete it, or you may simply decide that you do not want to complete a specific module. You can stop a module any time before submitting phase 2. Stopping a module will not count against you, and it will show up in your list of available modules to work on at a later date if you so choose.


Why is this program being initiated?

The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology are responding to external developments directed toward ongoing evaluation of physicians. State licensing bodies are currently developing laws and regulations to require periodic testing of all physicians as a requirement for relicensure. Consumer groups are lobbying hard in this effort with regulatory bodies such as the Department of Health and Human Services. There are several organizations that do testing that would like to be the official testing body for states. We feel that the best organizations to evaluate practicing physicians are their specialty society and board. In cooperation with ABOG, ACOG believes the current Maintenance of Certification process can be expanded to meet the needs of our members. All specialty societies with their boards who are members of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) are working on the same joint relationship. Finally, ABMS now requires all member boards to have a MOC program.


Will there be CME credit for this program?

The College and the Board believe this will be an excellent educational process because of the reference reading and evaluation of practice. ACOG, as an organization approved by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to grant CME credits, has determined that each module will be approved for 3 CME credits.


Will anyone be able to a see a copy of my record?

A copy of your satisfactory completion record will be available for any credentialing, licensing, or other official body that requests a report. ACOG and ABOG will maintain the record, and it will only be voluntarily released upon your request. If you are an ACOG member, all MOC CME will be automatically uploaded to your CME transcript available at www.acog.org.


How is this activity supposed to benefit my practice?

For most physicians this program will reinforce your current practice and support your current activities. For other physicians this program may help identify areas for improving clinical practice. In addition, as new diagnostic and management concepts evolve, this program will be a way to introduce new "best practices" into one's practice.


Can I remain a Fellow of ACOG if I do not participate in this program?

If you had an unlimited certification as the basis for qualifying for Fellowship in ACOG, you can remain a Fellow and not participate. However, if your state requires you to have evidence of an ongoing program and removes your license because you do not, then you will lose your Fellowship status. If you have a time-limited certificate, you must participate to maintain Diplomate and Fellow status.


Who selects the topics and develops the questionnaires?

ACOG and ABOG have established a joint committee to oversee the program and select the topics and issues to be utilized. This committee meets several times a year to evaluate the program as well as develop new modules. In addition, outside consultants are used to assist the committee.


Can a non-ABOG certified physician participate?

At this time, participation is limited to ABOG Diplomates and ACOG Fellows. Since non-board certified obstetricians and gynecologists cannot become Fellows of ACOG, they cannot participate at this time.


Can an ABOG certified, non-ACOG member participate?

Yes, an ABOG certified Diplomate can participate in the program the same as an ACOG Fellow. However, for those non-ACOG Fellows there will be a charge for the ACOG portion just as there is a charge for the ABOG portion. Physicians in this category should contact ABOG for details (see contact information below).


What happens if I do not complete 5 modules in 6 years?

Failure to complete 5 modules in the 6 year cycle will result in a failure to maintain certification and could result in loss of certification by ABOG and Fellowship in ACOG. If this occurs, then both ACOG and ABOG will investigate the cause. We recognize that there can be extraneous circumstances that caused the failure and this could result in an extension of time. However, this should occur only rarely and for very justifiable causes. Each case will be reviewed individually.


Why did ABOG and ACOG join to develop this program?

The Board of Directors of both ACOG and ABOG felt that each organization had a unique role to play, and it would be in the best interest of both the Diplomates and Fellows to develop a joint program. Since 1930, ABOG has been administering certification examinations in a variety of formats. Since 1951, ACOG has been educating, establishing practice guidelines for, and offering voluntary self-assessment programs for our members. Since these activities covered most of the key components of maintenance and evaluation of competency, it was logical that the two organizations would jointly develop a program in response to the outside forces that were dictating a need.


How do I sign up for MOC?

If you pass your oral exam, you will automatically be enrolled in MOC for the upcoming year. If your certificate expires, you can enroll for MOC annually at www.abog.org.


Who do I contact with questions about the MOC program?

For Parts I, II, and III please contact the ABOG MOC Office at 214-721-7510 and recert@abog.org. For questions on the MOC part 4 modules, please contact Megan McReynolds (mmcreynolds@acog.org or 202-863-2545) at ACOG.


[Return to MOC]

Copyright © 2014 The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. All rights reserved.