With the advent of Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and the need for continuing medical education (CME), the American Board of Plastic Surgery offers a Maintenance of Certification program for all plastic surgeons. They – along with all the 24 member boards of the ABMS or the American Board of Medical Specialties – found the need to make sure that all medical professionals under their organization are fully equipped with skills and knowledge to face all medical challenges that may come their way today and in the future. It is a well-known fact that medicine is not a constant science; new treatment for diseases is discovered every day and at almost the same rate, a new disease surfaces too. That is why we, medical professionals, must keep up with that trend through continuing medical education.
That is especially true in the field of plastic surgery. We now live in a society where there is a growing demand for perfection – in your job, your fashion sense, and most importantly, the way you look. The faintest of lines may send may to the doctor for Botox injections. With that growing demand is also a rising pressure among plastic surgeons to offer the best possible service they can offer. Of course, aesthetics is not the only reason. There are various other genetic conditions and malformations that need to be addressed by plastic surgeons; all the more reason for continuing medical education.
Maintenance of certification for plastic surgeons is divided in to four parts: Licensure and Professional Standing, Life Long Learning and Self-Assessment, Cognitive Expertise, and MOC-Practice Assessment. Each part is required in specific years within the 10-year MOC cycle. For part I, for example, submission is required every three years with the exception of the 10th year – years 3, 6, 9, and 10. An applicant must hold an unrestricted state medical license and an active membership in one of the several sponsored organization of the board. That information must be verified on those years.
Continuing medical education is exceedingly important for the second part of the MOC program which is the lifelong learning and self-assessment. Needless to say “lifelong learning” requires all applicants to participate in activities that will allow them to learn and even re-learn knowledge and skills applicable for their practice. Each applicant is required to complete a total of 150 continuing medical education credits within the last three years; and this will be checked on years 3, 6, 9, and 10 of the program.