American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

The Diplomate E-Newsletter Spring 2020

Posted On: April 15, 2020

President’s Message

These are difficult times in the field of medicine. Most of us have never seen anything like the current COVID-19 pandemic. At the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS), we are trying to respect the gravity of the situation while making sure we do not forget our mission of protecting the public.

As you likely know, we opened the Assessment Window for the ABOS Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment nearly two weeks early and extended the window later into the summer as well. We appreciate all of the Diplomates who asked us to open it early and have gotten many positive comments from those who have already participated. In addition, we have been able to partner with the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery and include four COVID-19 related Knowledge Sources on the platform. We strive each year to make all our Knowledge Assessments as relevant for the practicing orthopaedic surgeons as possible.

The Board has also instituted a Maximum Fee Program that will apply to each 10-year Maintenance of Certification cycle. Diplomates who change their assessment pathway—whether by choice or because of a Credentials Committee decision—will not be financially penalized. You can read more about that topic in this issue of The Diplomate.

You may have heard from your junior colleagues that we have extended the case collection period for the 2021 ABOS Part II Oral Examination. This will allow the ABOS to get a good snapshot of each Candidate’s practice and ensure that there is enough time to reach the surgical case minimum. We have also instituted a maximum number of cases that will need to be entered for this group so that high volume individuals are not negatively impacted.

As I write this, the number of patients infected with coronavirus has yet to reach its peak. The Board has regular conference calls to discuss the situation and what additional changes to our schedule—if any—will need to be made. Any changes will be emailed to those who would be directly impacted, and changes will also be posted to It is imperative that you make sure your email address is correct in our system.

The ABOS continues to function, working remotely, with appropriate social distancing. If you have any questions, feel free to contact the ABOS Office, and one of our friendly staff members will be able to assist you. While we have canceled in-person meetings, our Board, Committees, and Task Forces are still meeting virtually. We feel that it is important to continue operations as much as we can.

We are all in medicine to make a difference. Thank you for your hard work.

Rick W. Wright, MD
President, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

Executive Medical Director’s Report

As you have likely seen through emails and social media, the 2020 American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery Web-Based Longitudinal Assessment Program (ABOS WLA) opened nearly two weeks early, on April 1, 2020. I highly encourage all eligible ABOS Diplomates to consider participation in the ABOS WLA as a way to meet the Knowledge Assessment requirement of the ABOS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program. You can participate at home using your laptop or home computer at a time convenient for you.

The program centers on 155 high-quality Orthopaedic Knowledge Sources, including four orthopaedic-related COVID-19 Knowledge Sources. On behalf of the ABOS Board of Directors, I would like to thank the participating journals for their incredible generosity in making the Knowledge Sources accessible to our Diplomates for the ABOS WLA. A full list of all represented journals is available here.

For 2020, the question delivery process has changed. You will be informed in advance of seeing each question which Knowledge Source will be referenced. To see how this works, BE SURE to try the ABOS WLA Sample Questions by clicking on the “Sample Question” button on the ABOS WLA Platform. This will allow you to become familiar with the platform before beginning the scored assessment questions.

The ABOS has created numerous resources to answer your questions about the ABOS WLA including a website, webinar, tutorial, and two podcasts. If you have any questions, please contact your Certification Specialist. I am always happy to discuss any issues that you may have, either in a telephone conference or at

The ABOS WLA is not a required program. You can still take a Computer-Based Recertification Examination—including the Musculoskeletal Oncology Examination in 2021. With the addition of the Musculoskeletal Oncology Examination in 2021, the ABOS will have 10 Practice-Profiled Examinations. The ABOS Oral Recertification Examination is still an option as well.

David F. Martin, MD
Executive Medical Director, American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery

ABOS Announces New Diplomate Maximum Fee for Each 10-year MOC Cycle

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has recently instituted a “Maximum Fee Program” for our Diplomates participating in the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program. While the ABOS has not raised fees for any program in over eight years, we have continued to develop Knowledge Assessment options for ABOS Diplomates. The Board wants to allow Diplomates the option to participate in the Knowledge Assessment Pathways of their choice, without having to consider the fees and without having to worry about a negative financial impact.

With that in mind, the ABOS has instituted a Maximum Fee for each Diplomate in each 10-year MOC cycle. Those Maximum Fees will include Application and Assessment Fees. The Maximum Fees for a 10-year MOC Cycle are as follows:


The fees are a total of the Application and Assessment Fees, which will continue to be paid separately. However, those are the maximum fees that a Diplomate will see in 10 years except for late fees, which are imposed by missing an initial deadline.

This new policy will allow ABOS Diplomates to participate in the ABOS Knowledge Assessment Pathway of their choice without having to worry about fees if they would like to move from pathway to pathway. The ABOS strives to be innovative in making programs more valuable to our Diplomates while controlling costs and keeping fees as low as possible.

Practice-Profiled Musculoskeletal Oncology Recertification Examination Coming in 2021

Starting in 2021, ABOS Diplomates will have the option of taking a Musculoskeletal Oncology Practice-Profiled Recertification Examination. The Examination will only include questions related to musculoskeletal oncology; there will not be any general orthopaedic surgery questions. In the coming months, musculoskeletal oncology orthopaedic surgeons from across the country will create the Blueprint for the Examination, focusing on topics that practicing musculoskeletal oncology orthopaedic surgeons should know. Later this year, the Examination Blueprint will be posted on the ABOS website at

The Examination will be available to Diplomates whose Certificates expire in 2021, 2022, or 2023 and who complete an Application and Case List by 4 pm ET on November 2, 2020. The Application and Case List are available now by going to and logging in to the Diplomate Dashboard. In order to finalize an ABOS Recertification Application, Diplomates are required  to have submitted 240 orthopaedic-related Continuing Medical Education credits, of which 40 must  be scored and recorded Self-Assessment Examination credits or be from ABOS-approved practice improvement activities.

The ABOS is excited to partner with musculoskeletal oncologists to create this examination. With the launch of the Practice-Profiled Musculoskeletal Oncology Recertification Examination, the ABOS now offers practice-profiled examinations in every orthopaedic subspecialty, along with General Orthopaedics. Our goal is to meet people at their practices with meaningful assessment tools.

ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program

The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) and the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) have partnered to support the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program for the sixth consecutive year. This Program fosters research that informs physician assessment and certification, supports the development of next generation leaders, and helps build awareness about the value of Board Certification to external audiences.

The 1-year, part-time program provides the ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholar with opportunities to:

  • Gain exposure to the fields of quality improvement, health care policy, physician assessment, and continuing professional development
  • Engage with national health care leaders and the ABMS Member Boards
  • Conduct research of value to their programs, organizations, and the certification community
  • Present and disseminate their research
  • Expand their professional networks

To learn about the projects of the previous ABOS-ABMS Scholars, click on this link. The ABOS has sponsored five highly accomplished Visiting Scholars. Please share this program with your junior colleagues and residents. It is a wonderful opportunity.

Remaining at their home institutions and organizations, the Visiting Scholars participate in program webinars and pursue research projects in collaboration with identified mentors. Visiting Scholars also participate in three, 3-day meetings during the course of the year with ABMS and Member Board leaders, and the leadership of ABMS Associate Members, among others. Once the year is over, scholars can continue their relationship with the ABOS and ABMS Board Communities through an alumni network. Visiting Scholars receive a stipend to support their research and program participation.

The Visiting Scholars Program is open to early career physicians, junior faculty, fellows, residents, and individuals holding a Master’s or Doctorate degree in public health, health services research, and public health policy and administration, or other related disciplines. The current ABOS-ABMS Visiting Scholars Program Application must be received by 5 pm CT on June 5, 2020. Click here to read more about the program and the application process.


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