Don’t Sweat the MOC:  Maintenance of Certification for Neurology Decoded

By Jennifer Frontera, MD, FNCS

NCS MOC PIP tools are APBN approved and now available on our website! 

Don’t Sweat the MOC: Maintenance of Certification for Neurology Decoded

Back in the olden days (prior to 1994), those who were ABPN certified in neurology were granted lifetime certificates.  Then in 1994 the ABPN changed to a 10 year recertification model, which required passing a standardized exam.  Beginning in January 2012 the ABPN began requiring maintenance of certification (MOC) every three years along with an exam every 10 years.  MOC includes: 1) Category 1 CME credits, 2) Self-assessment credits (also known as SAE or self-assessment exams), which consist of educational material with practice questions, and 3) PIP (performance in practice) modules consisting of clinical modules demonstrating your practice abilities and feedback modules from both patients/families and peers.  

Tools to earn SAE and PIP credits must be approved by the ABPN as of 2014.  A list of currently approved tools can be found at www.abpn.com/moc.  However, there are few tools which apply to the daily practice of neurointensivists.  To solve this problem, the NCS has devised PIP modules for approval by the ABPN.  Once approved, PIP modules will be available on the NCS website for all members including:  1) forms for peer feedback 2) forms for family or patient feedback and 3) clinical modules.  Clinical modules will be geared toward the everyday work you do in the neuro-ICU.  The NCS is developing two clinical modules, one on subarachnoid hemorrhage and one on intracerebral hemorrhage, which are designed to evaluate adherence to quality measures as outlined in NCS and AHA guidelines. The history and physical examination from 5 patients would be reviewed by a colleague using an approved form.  For example, the review form would assess inclusion of a discussion of blood pressure management, glucose control, and deep vein thrombosis prophylaxis among other items. Submission of history and physical examinations of another 5 patients within the next 2 years is required for completion of the PIP clinical module. Completion of evaluation these 10 patients could then be self-reported on the APBN physician Folio website.  Your ABPN physician Folio also compiles your CME and SAE credit and must be updated annually as you complete MOC items. The ABPN may audit your CME, SAE, and PIP records during the continuous MOC process, but no actual patient documents need be submitted to the ABPN. This entire MOC process is repeated every 3 years, leading up to the next cognitive examination in the 10th year. . 


For those who have taken an ABPN computer-based cognitive examination since 2012, you are enrolled in continuous MOC, and participation includes the elements listed in table 1.

table 1

For those who have not taken an examination since 2012, you are still in the traditional MOC program. Your specific year-to-year requirements are individualized in your Folio account, but are summarized in table 2. As has always been the case, you must ha

table 2

Additionally, NCS is planning to develop ABPN approved self-assessment CME modules.  We are working to adapt Emergency Neurological Life Support (ENLS) into a self-assessment CME tool, providing one stop shopping for both ABPN-approved MOC products and ENLS certification.  Stay tuned!
Acknowledgements:  I would like to thank Dr. Kerry Levin, neurology director and chairman, MOC committee, APBN for reviewing this article for accuracy.