The Diplomate November 2015
Message from Sandy Emery, ABOS's Immediate Past-President:
The last 15 years has ushered in significant changes in our profession’s certification and recertification processes. Recertification became Maintenance of Certification with CME, a case list, and an exam by year 10. Digital imaging and digital records are now the norm for oral exams.
To sit for Part I (the written exam, lest it be forever blocked from your memory), requirements for resident education has changed as well. The PGY-1 year now allows six months of orthopaedic rotations instead of three, and motor skills training has become part of that first year. And as the quality evolution/revolution continues to gain importance across the country, practice improvement becomes increasingly relevant for all of us as operating surgeons.
These three topics: certification, education, and practice improvement are three priority areas for ABOS as we move forward. Our core mission remains certification, yet we play roles in the two remaining important arenas. We will continue to work with other orthopaedic organizations in Graduate Medical Education (GME) and practice improvement as part of MOC.
To execute and manage this work we have carefully and confidently expanded the capabilities of our office infrastructure. Shep Hurwitz remains our Executive Director, with Aaron White as our chief operating officer as of late last year. More recently, David Elstein has signed on as our communications specialist. One of our basic goals is to improve our customer service to candidates and diplomates alike, so let us know how we are doing.
With that, I will turn over the Presidential reins to Larry Marsh, MD. Thank you to everyone for their support this past year.
Sanford E. Emery, MD, MBA
Immediate Past-President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery
Executive Director Report:
The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery has 707 new diplomates. Congratulations to those who are now Board Certified orthopaedic surgeons.
This summer the ABOS administered two new recertifying exams. The oral combined exams in surgery of the hand and sports medicine were administered along with the other oral recertifying exams in Chicago last July. The passing rate was over 85% which is lower than those who annually take a computer-based combined recertifying exam.
The number of diplomates who recertify via an oral exam pathway has levelled-off over the past three years at around 140 per year, or slightly more than 12% of the diplomates who recertify annually. There is approximately a 10% drop-out rate of those with time-limited certifications who do not participate in Maintenance of Certification (MOC) or who do not sign-up for a recertifying exam.
Currently the ABOS website has a searchable status for each diplomate. Those with time-unlimited certification (grandfathers) are listed as ‘certified’ and for MOC ‘not necessary’. Those with time-limited certification are listed as ‘certified’ with the year of expiration. Of those who are certified and are in compliance with the MOC procedures an additional ‘participating in MOC’ will be listed. Those who were certified but had their certification lapse are listed ‘no status’.
Former diplomates who wish to re-enter and regain certification must do so through a re-entry pathway. Re-entry consists of registering for MOC, entering 120 CMEs of which 20 are self-assessment exams (SAE), which have been earned in the preceding 36 months before application and a six-month case list. There is an application process that includes Peer Review which is reviewed by the Credentials Committee and case selection for an oral exam. If the former diplomate is not practicing surgery there is a pathway to a computer exam for purposes of regaining certification.
As of 2017, all ABOS diplomates must provide 240 CMEs, of which 40 are SAEs, before making application for a recertifying exam.
The ABOS charges an application fee and a small MOC recording fee for those who will complete their MOC requirements and take a recertifying exam. Once approved by the Credentials Committee, there is an examination fee. All ABOS fees have been unchanged for the past three years and remain unchanged for the 2016 exams.
As of now, the ABOS has no plan to change the amount of CME, SAE and case list reporting over the 10-year MOC cycle. There will be new elements to the application process in 2017 concerning patient safety and professionalism, at no cost to the diplomate. The subspecialty certification in surgery of the hand and sports medicine will continue to be offered to those ABOS certified surgeons with the required ACGME accredited fellowship and case list submission requirements.
Shepard R. Hurwitz, MD
Patsi Furr, ABOS Examination Coordinator
In the May/June issue of The Diplomate we included an article about Ms. Patti Scalf, the first staff member hired by the ABOS when we moved to Chapel Hill, North Carolina in 1991. In this issue of The Diplomate we give you a personal look at Ms. Patsi Furr, ABOS’s Part I Examination Coordinator. The chances are 90% of those of you who are reading this article have either spoken with or emailed with Patsi over the years when you were preparing for your Part I examination.
As I stated in the first staff spotlight, I believe it is important to for our constituents to know the individuals that they work with during their application, certification, and recertification process. While as a certification board we do not have members, our staff has created a culture where we want to treat each of our constituents with the same level of service and dedication that they would expect.
Patsi worked at the University of North Carolina Medical School for 13 years. Her first position was in the Personnel Office where she worked with the Faculty Promotions Committees and was a direct report of the individual who would later hire her at the ABOS in November 1991.
Patsi was originally hired as receptionist and secretary to the COO. In addition to answering the phone and typing letters, her duties included assisting with meeting planning. In 1992, she was appointed the Part I Coordinator, and later took on the duties associated with assisting Residency Coordinators. Patsi maintained the meeting planning functions associated with ABOS’s Oral Examination, committees and ABOS’s annual fall board meeting.
Patsi has enjoyed her job with the ABOS for almost 24 years and states that she is amazed that some of her first time Part I candidates have now recertified twice. I personally have heard a number of Diplomates say how much they have appreciated Patsi’s guidance and service over the years and that her assistance has been a key component to making it through the Part I examination application process.
Patsi was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia, but has lived in North Carolina since she was 1 year old. Patsi is loyal to both states and says she is simply a “southern girl.” Her brother, sister-in-law and two grown nieces all live in Virginia and she visits them often. Patsi self-proclaims that she still doesn’t know “what she wants to be when she grows up,” but in her personal life she enjoys watching her 15-year-old goddaughter play travel and high school soccer and is very proud that she made the varsity team as a freshman. Patsi also enjoys University of North Carolina basketball, reading, going to plays, and wandering through the many antique stores in the area. Her favorite pastime is spending time with her new rescue dog “Duchess” who herself is a valued member of the ABOS team.
In the upcoming issues we will tell you more about other ABOS staff members. We hope that these articles will give each of you a little more insight into the staff who work hard to keep you informed of the ABOS requirements and your certification status. Patsi, myself, and the entire ABOS are here to assist in you in any way we can and please do not hesitate to reach me or any of them if we can assist you further.
Aaron S. White
Chief Operating Officer