Synchronization of Certificates

The American Board of Thoracic Surgery (ABTS) voted to streamline the Maintenance of Certification® (MOC) process for holders of subspecialty certificates in congenital cardiac surgery by synchronizing the certification dates with your primary ABTS certification.  In the future, renewing your primary certification will also renew your congenital cardiac subspecialty certification. 

As you may know, the ABTS now provides a modular, educational, SESATS-type examination for fulfillment of the 10-year Milestone of MOC for your primary ABTS certificate.  On successful completion, you receive a new ABTS certificate valid for 10 year increments from your initial certification.  Now with synchronized certification, congenital cardiac surgery certificate holders will receive their new congenital certificate at the same time and with the same valid through date as their primary certificate, based on successful completion of the congenital module for primary certification MOC. 

The 5- and 10-year Milestone requirements for primary certification by the ABTS for congenital certificate holders include the congenital continuing medical education, case log and case summary elements now a part of congenital MOC.  These requirements are detailed in the Congenital Cardiac Surgery Maintenance of Certification Booklet of Information 2017, which is published on the ABTS web site.  Renewing the primary ABTS certificate by taking the congenital module will renew both certificates (primary and congenital).  During the transition period:

  • You may have two congenital certificates, valid through different dates.  The longer period will be the date of record maintained by the ABTS and the American Board of Medical Specialties. 
  • Some congenital certificates will expire before the Diplomate is required to participate in the 10-year MOC Milestone for primary ABTS certification.  Those Diplomates will be required to submit the information required in the 5-year Milestone application, and approved applicants will receive an extension of their congenital certificate valid-through date to match the valid-through date of their primary ABTS certificate. 
  • Congenital cardiac surgeons who do not meet congenital requirements for their primary certificate’s MOC will have until the expiration date of their congenital certificate to do so, but thereafter must meet the congenital MOC requirements based on the primary certificate timing.

The requirements for congenital cardiac surgeons participating in the MOC process for their primary certification are now in effect.  For a small number of Diplomates, this will mean that you will be required to meet the congenital MOC requirements (e.g., case log, case summary, CME) again in 2017 or 2018.  We anticipate that any difficulty this may cause will be mitigated by the convenience of the combined process of renewing two certificates at one time hereafter.

If your ABTS Certificate expires 1-2 years AFTER the expiration date of your Congenital Certificate
If you participate in the 10-year Milestone of MOC for your primary ABTS certification at your earliest opportunity, you will renew both your ABTS primary and congenital subspecialty certifications at that time. If you do not participate in the 10-year Milestone of MOC for your primary ABTS certification at your earliest opportunity, your Congenital certificate will expire before your primary ABTS certificate.  In that case, you must submit a CHS MOC application in the 10th year of your CHS certification.  You will then receive a letter extending your Congenital certificate through the valid-through date of your primary certificate.  Thereafter, MOC activities will satisfy requirements for both your ABTS primary and congenital subspecialty certifications.

If your ABTS Certificate expires MORE THAN 2 years after your Congenital Certificate
You are required to participate in the 5-year Milestone of MOC for your congenital certificate at the appropriate time. Your Congenital certificate will expire before your primary ABTS certificate.  You must submit an application, including case list and CME (see the CHS MOC Booklet of Information), in the 10th year of your CHS certification.  You will then receive a letter extending your Congenital certificate through the valid-through date of your primary certificate.  Thereafter, MOC activities will satisfy requirements for both your ABTS primary and congenital subspecialty certification.  

If your Congenital Certificate expires BEFORE your ABTS Certificate expires
You must submit an application, including case list and CME (see the CHS MOC Booklet of Information), in the 10th year of your CHS certification.  You will then receive a letter extending your Congenital certificate through the valid-through date of your primary ABTS certificate.  Thereafter, MOC activities will satisfy requirements for both your ABTS primary and Congenital subspecialty certification.  Failure to submit the 10-year Congenital application will mean that you no longer hold a valid Congenital certificate and ABTS primary MOC activities will not renew Congenital certification.

Please review the Congenital Cardiac Surgery MOC Booklet of Information for additional information.  If you have questions, contact Sarah Dunlap at the ABTS at sarahdunlap@abts.org or 312-202-5976.

Applications are available for the 5-year Milestone for CCS MOC.  The CCS MOC Booklet of Information and MOC applications are available here during the transition to certificate synchronization period.