Related Policies
The policies listed below relate to ABTS certification in thoracic surgery.  Candidates for certification should also refer to the Board's Booklet of Information for additional information regarding the rules and procedures for certification.  
Leave of Absence Policy 


The new policy will affect thoracic surgery residents in 2-year, 3-year, 6 year and 4/3 training programs, in addition to congenital cardiac surgery residents in 1-year and 2-year training programs. To read more about the new Leave of Absence Policy, please CLICK HERE .

Single Accreditation Policy 

followed by the successful completion of an ACGME-approved Thoracic Surgery residency.

August 1 Residency Start Date

Additionally, with the change in the Qualifying Exam date, trainees will have the opportunity to study and take the ABS Surgery Qualifying Exam before the start of their fellowship, to move to their new training city in a more leisurely fashion, to fully participate in orientation in their new hospital, and potentially to offset patient safety concerns that have been noted with transitions to new trainees during the month of July. Orthopedics has adopted and executed this policy for many years with favorable results for residents and programs. Multiple informal surveys of residents have been very positive regarding this change in fellowship start dates. In response to this change, most postgraduate surgery fellowship start dates have been moved to August 1 (starting in 2016).

The American Board of Thoracic Surgery recognizes the potential value of this change by the American Board of Surgery for our residents and encourages thoracic surgery program directors to consider changing their program start dates to August 1. Therefore, the American Board of Thoracic Surgery has moved the application deadline for the Qualifying Exam application to September and the Qualifying Exam to December. Before committing to this change multiple logistic considerations need to be decided at the local level and must include thoughtful discussion with the institutional Designated Institutional Official (DIO). Consideration needs to be given to the resident's salary gap (from July 1 to August 1), healthcare coverage (typically COBRA coverage will cover a 1 month gap readily), and those residents that have a visa that requires continuous training as a prerequisite.

Special Exam Accommodations Policy

The purpose of documentation is to validate that the candidate is covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act. Documentation also enables the ABTS to provide appropriate accommodations for such a disability. The purpose of accommodations is to provide equal access to the American Board of Thoracic Surgery testing program. No candidate shall be excused from either the written or oral examination or offered a modification that would compromise either examination's ability to test accurately the skills and knowledge it is designed to measure. Similarly, no auxiliary aid or service will be provided that will fundamentally alter either examination or will result in an undue burden to the American Board of Thoracic Surgery. To allow sufficient time for a thorough review of all documentation material, candidates requesting accommodations should complete the attached questionnaire and submit it to the ABTS by the published application deadline. The ABTS strictly adheres to a policy of confidentiality and does not disclose names of candidates with disabilities or information concerning the application or accompanying documentation.

CME Credit for Earning Certification

A Diplomate must submit proof to the AMA of the successful completion of certification or recertification with a photocopy of the Board certificates or other direct proof from the certifying Board. In addition, the Diplomate must complete an on-line application for CME credit on the AMA web site ( ). Diplomates who successfully passed certification and re-certification examinations before September 1, 2010, can apply to the AMA for 25 credits. Diplomates who passed examination after September 1, 2010, can apply to the AMA for 60 credits. Diplomates may apply for CME credits for up to six years from the effective date on their certificate. Information about the credit and how to apply for the CME credit can be found at on the AMA's web site .

Appeals Policy

Individuals who are in the written exam process may only request reconsideration regarding potential fraud, misconduct or irregularities.  There is no appeal for the content of the examination, the sufficiency or accuracy of the answers given, scoring of the examination, nor any other matter.  Any individuals who wish to seek reconsideration on the basis of fraud, misconduct or irregularities may immediately upon conclusion of the written examination, and in any event no later than 7 days following the written examination, request that the Board allow him or her to retake the examination at no additional cost.

Individuals in the oral exam process who believe that any of the examiners have been unfair or biased during portions of the oral examination may immediately upon conclusion of the examination request of the Executive Director of the Board a reexamination by another examiner using different case protocols covering similar subject matter.  If the Executive Director and the Officers determine that there are reasonable grounds, the individual shall be reexamined immediately by a Board member.  In such instances, only the score given by the re-examiner will be considered.

Denial or Revocation of Certificate 

a. the candidate for certification or Diplomate did not possess the required qualifications and requirements for examination, whether such deficiency was known to the Board or any Committee thereof before examination or at the time of issuance of the certificate as the case may be;

b. the candidate for certification or Diplomate withheld information in his or her application or made a material misstatement or any other misrepresentation to the Board or any Committee thereof, whether intentional or unintentional; 

c. the candidate for certification or Diplomate was convicted by a court of competent jurisdiction of any felony or misdemeanor involving moral turpitude and, in the opinion of the Board, having a material relationship to the practice of medicine;

d. the candidate for certification or Diplomate had his or her license to practice medicine revoked or was disciplined or censured by any court or other body having proper jurisdiction and authority because of any act or omission arising from the practice of medicine; or

e. the candidate for certification or Diplomate had a history of chemical dependency or developed such during the certification process and failed to report same to the Board.

Chemical Dependency Policy

For candidates who are already in the examination process and develop a chemical dependency as reported to the Board, the process will be suspended until the candidate can provide documentation suitable to the Board that the condition has been under control for a period of two years. At that time, the candidate will be readmitted to the examination process. The requirement to be accepted for examination within one year of completion of an approved thoracic surgery residency will not be waived.