Maintenance of Certification

In accordance with ABPP policy, Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is required of all ABCN specialists awarded board certification on or after January 1, 2015. Specialists who completed board certification prior to that date may ‘opt in’ to the process but are not required by ABPP to do so. Instructions are forthcoming.

The model for MOC proposed by ABPP and supported by ABCN asserts that competence is established at the time of initial board certification and can be continuously updated through lifelong learning, ongoing participation in professional activities, and self-evaluation related to core competencies.

Information regarding the timeline for submission of MOC materials by current ABCN Specialists is forthcoming.

MOC does not require re-examination or any type of formal test. Rather, credentialed specialists engage in a process of periodic self-evaluation by documenting once each decade the professional activities that have served to maintain competence in Clinical Neuropsychology. The ABCN Board of Directors strongly encourages all neuropsychologists to participate in the MOC process regardless of certification date, as doing so represents a strong, unified academy of board certified specialists, sets a clear leadership example for trainees and colleagues entering the board certification process, and supports ABPP in its role of setting and maintaining standards of competence and excellence. Information regarding ABCN MOC policies and procedures can be found in the Specialty Candidate Manual and the Pediatric Clinical Neuropsychology Subspecialty Candidate Manual. Also, please review the following frequently asked questions about MOC.

1. What is MOC?

MOC stands for ‘maintenance of certification’ and is a means for documenting professional activities that serve to maintain competence over time. This model is practiced widely in medicine and has been adopted by ABPP as the mechanism for ensuring ongoing maintenance of specialty (and subspecialty) competencies.

2. What is required to pass the MOC process?

The MOC model asserts that competencies are continuously updated through routine engagement in a wide variety of ongoing professional activities and self-evaluation. ABPP has established five broad categories of professional activities that support MOC, including: (1) Collaborative Clinical Consultation, (2) Teaching and Training, (3) Ongoing Education, (4) Research, Methodologies, and Programs, and (5) Professional Leadership. Numerous professional development activities fall within each of these categories, and each activity is assigned a “credit value” based on content and/or the number of hours engaged in the activity (e.g., one credit may be earned for each hour of case consultation, clinical supervision, continuing education, etc.). To meet the professional activity criterion, ABCN Specialists must document a total of at least 40 professional activity “credits” during the two year period prior to MOC submission, 30 of which must pertain to Clinical Neuropsychology. To meet the self-evaluation criterion, Specialists must briefly describe their practice setting, their approach to an ethical or diversity issue encountered in practice, and the means by which they evaluate their clinical efficacy.

3. Does MOC involve re-examination of any kind?

No! MOC does not require re-examination or any type of test. MOC is simply the documentation of what competent specialists do routinely to keep their clinical skills up-to-date and to support their own professional development.

4. Is MOC required?

MOC is required of all ABCN Specialists awarded board certification or subspecialty certification on or after January 1, 2015. Specialists who completed board certification or subspecialty certification prior to that date may opt in to the process but are not required by ABPP to do so. Once Specialists opt in to the MOC process they will be required to submit MOC materials every 10 years going forward.

5. How often is MOC required?

Specialists must complete MOC every ten years following initial board certification. MOC materials must be submitted nine years following certification (or last MOC renewal) and must document the professional activities that supported maintenance of specialty competencies during the two years prior to the submission (i.e., years 7 & 8 post-certification or last MOC renewal). Specialists who were board certified prior to January 1, 2015 who opt in to MOC may submit materials beginning in 2016, according to a timetable to be established by the ABCN Board of Directors.

6. Why should I voluntarily do MOC if I was boarded before January 2015?

ABCN certified Specialists know that the competencies demonstrated at the time of initial certification are not static in nature and that the growth and evolving complexity of neuropsychological science and clinical care require ongoing learning and self-assessment in order to continue to deliver high quality clinical outcomes. MOC provides Specialists an efficient and structured means to document the efforts that competent specialists already pursue. Participating in the ABCN MOC process and registering MOC status with ABPP represents a professional response to the need for public accountability and transparency which is recognized as an important quality indicator by patients, attorneys, insurers, hospitals, and the federal government. Participation in MOC also demonstrates commitment to the highest standards of practice and regard for public welfare, reasons that likely led you to pursue board certification in the first place.

The ABCN Board and MOC Committee have made every effort to tailor the MOC requirements to neuropsychological practice and to minimize documentation burden. The ABCN MOC process does not involve re-examination and is not designed to be punitive. Even in the unlikely event that your current professional activities do not meet ABCN MOC criteria, you will be provided specific, constructive feedback on meeting MOC criteria and given one year to resubmit materials.

Finally, MOC participation sets a clear leadership example for colleagues and neuropsychology students across all levels of training, and supports ABPP in its mission to establish and uphold standards for specialty clinical practice. As such, all members of the ABCN and AACN Boards of Directors have committed to participating in MOC and will be among the first to submit MOC documentation when the process begins.

7. What specifically will the MOC process entail?

The MOC process is comprised of two parts. Specialists will complete: (1) an electronic form, known as the ABCN Specialty Continuing Professional Development (SCPD) Grid, to document professional activities and calculate “credits” (Discussed earlier in FAQ #2); and (2) a minimum of four brief questions related to clinical practice and setting, a recent ethical/diversity issue encountered, and the means by which clinical efficacy is evaluated.

8. How does the SCPD Grid work?

The SCPD Grid is a fillable pdf document that is accessed through the ABPP online portal (SharePoint). The grid contains five professional activity categories (Collaborative Clinical Consultation, Teaching/Training, Ongoing Education, Research/ Methodology, and Professional Leadership) with examples of specific activities subsumed within each category. Specialists will calculate credit values for each activity in which they engaged during the two years prior to their MOC submission deadline. The credit values will be entered into the grid and the specialist will check off each specific foundational and functional competency supported by that activity (please refer to the ABCN Candidate Manual for a review of clinical neuropsychology competencies). Specialists may review and download the SCPD grid and glossary of qualifying activities and credit values at any time so that, if desired, the grid may be completed prospectively over the two years leading up to the MOC submission date. The grid automatically updates credit totals as new activities are recorded.

9. What if I don’t engage in all of the activities in the grid?

ABCN recognizes that professional activities will vary widely from one specialist to the next, depending upon their areas of interest, work setting, and primary roles (e.g., clinician, researcher, academician). Specialists do not need to engage in all activities within a given category and may satisfy ABCN professional activity criteria by documenting activities in as few as two of the five grid categories.

10. How can someone in private practice meet the professional activity criteria?

ABPP and ABCN recognize that some practitioners may have less opportunity or access to professional activities within certain grid categories. To address this, ABCN has provided credit values for a number of activities across several grid categories that are attainable outside of institutional settings. Examples include case consultation with colleagues, mentorship activities, professional meeting attendance, formal continuing education, self-learning activities, practice sample review, clinical practice management activities, and others.

11. What was the rationale for adding self-evaluation questions?

This component is required by ABPP. Whereas the SCPD grid provides a quantitative summary of the Specialist’s professional activities, the self-evaluation questions give the Specialist opportunities to provide contextual information, elaborate on the information supplied in the grid, and address foundational competencies regarding ethical practice and self-assessment. ABCN has structured the questions to be as brief and objective as possible.

12. Will subspecialists be required to submit separate MOC documentation for subspecialty activities?

No. Those with both specialty (parent) and subspecialty certification will have their MOC submissions tied to the date of initial specialty (parent) board certification and will document both specialty and subspecialty activity in a single submission. A total of 20 credit activities must support subspecialty competence and will also count toward the required 40-credit total. ABCN MOC materials are designed to allow subspecialists to simply indicate which of their documented MOC activities were related directly to subspecialty competencies, thereby eliminating the need for extra or separate documentation.

13. If I was awarded ABCN Certification before 2015 but complete subspecialty certification during or after 2015 will I be required to participate in MOC?

The ABPP MOC Work Group has recommended to the Board of Trustees that all candidates who are awarded subspecialty certification on or after January 1, 2015 be required to participate in MOC regardless of the date that specialty (parent) board certification was obtained. Those who were awarded ABCN parent board certification prior to January 1, 2015 may choose to submit only those materials required of subspecialty MOC or they may opt in to the full (specialty + subspecialty) MOC process. For those who choose to only participate in subspecialty MOC, the date of MOC submission will be tied to the date of initial subspecialty certification.

14. What if I am certified by another ABPP board? Do I need to submit separate MOC documentation to ABCN?

Each board is developing its own specialty-specific requirements regarding MOC. ABCN will require all Specialists, including those holding multiple certifications, to demonstrate maintenance of clinical neuropsychology competencies; however, the timing or MOC submission may be adjusted to allow such Specialists to streamline the submission process. Specific details regarding MOC submissions from those who are certified by multiple ABPP Specialty Boards are currently being developed by the ABPP MOC Work Group and will be forthcoming. Ultimately, each Specialist will be responsible for knowing the MOC requirements to maintain all of their ABPP certifications.

15. Are there record-keeping requirements?

Yes. MOC applicants are strongly encouraged to retain a file of supporting documents associated with claimed professional activities on the SCPD grid (e.g., certificates of attendance at professional conferences, dates, frequencies, and duration of consultations, mentorship activities, etc). The ABCN MOC Committee may request copies of this information in the event that a question arises regarding the submitted materials. Additionally, a small number of MOC submissions will be randomly audited to maintain quality control, and support material may be requested to facilitate this process.

16. What if I have more questions?

If you have questions that are not addressed in this FAQ or the ABCN Candidate Manual, please contact the ABCN MOC Director via the ABCN Central Office.