The American Society of Dermatopathology

American Board of Pathology CC Requirements

This document serves as an abbreviated summary of the American Board of Pathology ‎‎(ABPath) Continuing Certification (CC) requirements.  Continuing certification status is ‎contingent upon meeting all CC requirements and reporting deadlines of the program.  For ‎comprehensive information about the ABPath CC requirements, please refer to the CC Booklet ‎of Information on the ABPath website. 
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Continuing certification is performed on a 10-year cycle.  Diplomates report Parts I, II, and IV ‎requirements online by completing their Continuing Certification (CC) Reporting Form in ‎PATHway (https://wds.dataharborsolutions.com)  every two years. The Part III requirements ‎may be met through either ongoing ABPath CertLink© participation, or the CC examination ‎every 10 years.  All CC requirements and deadlines are based on the year of enrollment in the ‎CC program. Diplomates issued certificates after 1/1/2006 are automatically enrolled in the CC ‎program. Diplomates with non-time limited (lifetime) certificates issued prior to 1/1/2006 may ‎voluntarily enroll in the CC program at any time.  Voluntary participation will not place ‎lifetime certification in jeopardy. 
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The Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) has recognized the ‎ABPath’s CC program as substantially equivalent to the MOC program in Canada. Fellows of ‎the Royal College who are living and practicing in the United States can use the ABPath’s CC ‎program to maintain their membership and Fellowship with the Royal College without having ‎to also participate in the Royal College’s MOC program. The ABPath has adopted a reciprocity ‎policy for diplomates participating in the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada ‎‎(RCPSC) MOC program. Diplomates participating in MOC with the RCPSC may submit ‎documentation of current participation in lieu of reporting Part II & Part IV requirements. ‎Diplomates must be living and practicing in Canada to have Part II & Part IV requirements ‎waived. 
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The ABPath has adopted a reciprocity policy for diplomates maintaining their primary ‎certification with another ABMS member board’s MOC program. These diplomates may report ‎current MOC participation with another ABMS member board in lieu of reporting Part II and IV ‎requirements of the ABPath’s CC program. ‎

The ABPath’s CC program consists of the following four parts:‎
  • Part I: Professionalism and Professional Standing – must be reported to the ABPath every two years. 
    • Medical Licensure - Diplomates must hold a valid, unrestricted medical license. ‎In addition, they must maintain a full and unrestricted license to practice ‎medicine in all jurisdictions in which they practice, whether inside or outside the ‎United States or Canada.
    • Substance Abuse or Impairment - A diplomate who, within the last three years, ‎has been diagnosed as chemically dependent, has been treated for drug or other ‎substance abuse, and/or has entered into a rehabilitation or remediation program ‎for drug or other substance abuse will be required to provide the ABPath with ‎documentation showing that he/she has successfully completed a rehabilitation ‎or remediation program authorized by the applicable medical licensing authority ‎or is successfully enrolled in such a program. An applicant who has a mental or ‎physical impairment that affects the applicant’s ability to practice safely and ‎effectively will be required to provide medical evidence from the appropriate ‎physicians, treatment centers and hospitals demonstrating to the ABPath that the ‎impairment does not compromise the applicant’s ability to practice safely and ‎effectively.
    • Medical Staff Privileges – Unless not applicable, diplomates must provide ‎information regarding medical staff membership and scope of health care ‎organization privileges. 
    • Description of Practice – Diplomates must provide a brief description of their ‎practice, including all areas and subspecialties of pathology and medicine. 
    • Peer Attestations/Evaluations - At the end of the 4th and 8th years of the CC ‎‎10-year cycle, each diplomate will be asked to provide the ABPath with the ‎names and e-mail addresses of four references who can attest to their ability and ‎effectiveness in practice. These references must include each of the following: ‎A) an ABPath-certified pathologist, B) confirmation from the medical staff ‎office, the Chair of the Credentials Committee (or designate), Chief Medical ‎Officer, Department Chair, or Chief of Staff that the diplomate is a credentialed ‎member of the medical staff in good standing at the primary health care facility ‎where the diplomate practices; C) a board-certified physician in another ‎specialty; D) a technologist/CLS or pathologists’ assistant.
    • Other ABMS Boards – ABPath diplomates should report if they are members of ‎other ABMS Member Boards. For diplomates maintaining their primary ‎certification in CC with another ABMS Member Board, ABPath accepts ‎documentation of current participation in lieu of reporting Part II and IV ‎requirements. Diplomates are required to upload this documentation when ‎submitting their CC reporting forms to ABPath. This does not affect the CC Part ‎III requirement.
  • Part II: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment – TThese requirements must be reported ‎to the ABPath every two years. There are three ways to meet reporting requirements for ‎Lifelong Learning: completing a fellowship, completing a Physician-Scientist Research ‎Pathway, or receiving and reporting 70 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM.  For ‎diplomates maintaining their primary certification in CC with another ABMS Member ‎Board, ABPath accepts documentation of current participation in lieu of reporting Part II ‎requirements.
    • Fellowships – Completion of an ACGME-accredited 12-month fellowship during ‎any two-year reporting period will meet all Part II and Part IV requirements ‎‎(except for peer evaluations) for that period. If the fellowship is not accredited by ‎the ACGME, the Designated Institutional Official or GME Committee must ‎provide a letter, submitted to the ABPath by the diplomate, indicating that the ‎fellowship is reviewed by the GME committee and is held to the same standards ‎and applicable program requirements as an ACGME-accredited fellowship.
    • Physician Scientist Research Pathway:
      • The ABPath Physician-Scientist Research Pathway is intended for those ‎pathologists who are committed to contributing to new scientific ‎knowledge in basic science, and clinical or translational medicine ‎through a career that will involve funded research.
      • A diplomate may transfer into or out of the pathway at any time without ‎ABPath approval.
      • A diplomate has until Year 6 of their first 10-year CC Cycle in which to ‎report the completion of the Pathway. The completion of the Pathway ‎may only be reported once.
      • A Physician-Scientist research year, like a fellowship year, will meet the ‎Continuing Certification Part II and Part IV requirements (except for peer ‎evaluations) for that reporting period.  A diplomate may indicate on their ‎reporting form that they completed one year in the Physician-Scientist ‎Research Pathway, what their research topic was, and the name of their ‎research mentor. The mentor must verify this information.
    • Continuing Medical Education (CME) and Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) – Each diplomate must obtain a ‎minimum of 70 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM for each two-year period ‎of the CC cycle. Self-assessment modules (SAMs) are no longer required. Eighty ‎percent of required CME must be directly related to the diplomate’s scope of ‎practice. The remainder may be in areas of general relevance to medicine (e.g. ‎ethics, practice management, informatics, etc.). The Royal College of Physicians ‎and Surgeons of Canada Continuing Professional Development (RCPSC CPD) ‎Accredited Group Learning (Section 1&3) credits in General Pathology are ‎accepted as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 CreditsTM. The American ‎Osteopathic Association (AOA) Category 1A CME are acceptable as CME ‎credits for Part II requirements.
  • Part III: Assessment of Knowledge, Judgment, and Skills – must be met once each 10-‎year cycle. Examination deadlines, dates and schedule information are available on the ‎ABPath website. This requirement may be met through either ABPath CertLink© ‎‎(ABPCL) participation or the Continuing Certification (CC) examination. Beginning in ‎‎2019 and thereafter, all certifications which are enrolled in the CC Program are ‎automatically registered in ABPCL. All certifications already in the CC Program during ‎‎2019 will begin participating in ABPCL on January 1, 2020 if they were not already.
    • ABPath CertLink® - ABPath CertLink® (ABPCL) is an online longitudinal assessment designed to support ‎continuous learning and professional development. Questions are assigned every ‎quarter and must be answered before the end of the quarter.
      • Participation Requirements:
        • ABPCL participation per quarter is defined as attempting to ‎answer all questions assigned for a quarter.
        • Overall participation requirements are provided in Appendix A of ‎the CC Booklet of Information, and are based on the year of initial ‎time-limited certification or CC Program enrollment. Diplomates ‎should carefully manage their participation so the requirements to ‎use ABPCL as their Assessment are met. 
        • Diplomates may request permission for time off for a quarter ‎‎(sabbatical). Quarters approved for sabbatical do not count ‎towards the participation requirements. Questions not attempted ‎will not be scored during a quarter approved for sabbatical.
        • A support ticket in the ABPCL system requesting sabbatical must ‎be received no later than one day prior to the end of the requested ‎quarter. Quarters cannot be retroactively approved for sabbatical.
      • Performance Requirement:
        • Periodic feedback to diplomates about meeting the performance ‎requirement will be provided by ABPath. Notice will be given if ‎ABPCL performance has met the Assessment requirement prior to ‎the end of a CC cycle. 
        • The performance decision for all registered certifications is made ‎on overall ABPCL performance, evaluated as a whole, not for ‎each certificate.
        • Any and all unanswered questions are recorded as incorrect, ‎unless the quarter was approved for sabbatical.
        • The ABPath recognizes the breadth and variation of pathology ‎practice.  Each certification registered in ABPCL has a mandatory ‎core component of items.  Percentages of assessment assigned to ‎core and elective Practice Areas is shown in Appendix B of the ‎CC Booklet of Information.
      • Exit and Reentry:
        • If a diplomate chooses to no longer participate in ABPCL, they ‎may opt-out by submitting a request via a support ticket in the ‎ABPCL system.
        • If a diplomate opts-out of participation in ABPCL, they are ‎required to take and pass the CC examination for all applicable ‎certifications during their current 10-year cycle.
        • A diplomate with a lapsed certification due to missed reporting ‎requirements is automatically removed from ABPCL after one ‎year if the certification is not reinstated. If a certificate is ‎reinstated, the diplomate may register for ABPCL again, but ‎ABPCL cannot be used to meet the CC Assessment requirement ‎for any certifications during the current 10-year cycle.
        • Opting out of or being removed from ABPCL does not prevent ‎future participation in ABPCL if a diplomate is eligible.
    • Continuing Certification Examination.
      • The CC examination is given twice each year, in Spring and Fall sessions, ‎and may be taken as soon as eight years after CC enrollment for those ‎who cannot meet their Assessment requirements through ABPCL. ‎Satisfactory completion of the CC examination does not change any CC ‎Program deadlines or certification expiration dates. The examination is a ‎proctored assessment based on practical, need-to-know, day to-day skills ‎and knowledge that a competent practitioner would be expected to ‎possess. Comprehensive study guides are available on the ABPath ‎website.
      • Each CC examination (primary and subspecialty) is composed of 150 ‎multiple-choice questions in the single best answer format. A diplomate ‎may opt to complete more than one examination in an examination ‎session. Diplomates who hold both a primary and a subspecialty ‎certificate may elect to take a single examination that includes a 50-‎question primary certification module (AP and/or CP) and a 150-question ‎subspecialty examination. The combined primary and subspecialty ‎examination is graded as a single 200-question examination for purposes ‎of pass/fail. A passing score will fulfill the 10-year Part III requirement ‎for both certificates.
      • Diplomates take their CC examination(s) via secure, remote computer ‎access from their home or office during a scheduled 2-week period for ‎examination access.  Registrants are responsible for ensuring that system ‎requirements, webcam, and microphone are installed on their computers ‎prior to the start of the examination session, and are required to perform a ‎system check on their computer prior to the examination.
      • Diplomates with disabilities may request accommodations in the ‎administration of the examination.  Diplomates requesting ‎accommodation must submit an Examination Accommodation Request ‎Form found at http://www.abpath.org and provide documentation of the ‎disability and the appropriateness of the requested accommodation for the ‎documented disability.
      • Registration for a Continuing Certification Examination session is $700. ‎This fee covers all examinations taken during the same examination ‎session (Spring or Fall) regardless of the number of examinations taken ‎‎(primary or subspecialty).
  • Part IV: Improvement in Medical Practice – must be reported to the ABPath every two ‎years. For diplomates maintaining their primary certification in CC with another ABMS ‎Member Board, ABPath accepts documentation of current participation in lieu of ‎reporting Part IV requirements. 
    • Laboratory Accreditation – diplomates must report accreditation status of their ‎primary laboratory to the ABPath. Laboratory accreditation is voluntary. 
    • Laboratory Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance (PI/QA) - Each laboratory with which a pathologist is associated must participate in inter-‎laboratory performance improvement and quality assurance programs ‎appropriate for the spectrum of anatomic and clinical laboratory procedures ‎performed in that laboratory.
    • Individual Pathologist Performance Improvement and Quality Assurance (PI/QA) - Diplomates must participate in at least one PI/QA activity or program ‎per year appropriate for their principal professional activities. Programs ‎recognized and approved to meet this requirement include those sponsored by a ‎Cooperating Society of the ABPath. See the ABPath website for a list of the ‎Cooperating Societies approved for Part IV activities.
  • Peer Attestations/Evaluations – All diplomates are required to provide peer attestations as to their interpersonal and communication skills, professionalism, ethics and effectiveness in systems-based practice. At the end of the 4th and 8th years of the CC cycle, diplomates must provide four individual references that can attest to their abilities and effectiveness in practice. These individuals must include: 1) an ABPath-certified pathologist, 2) the Chair of the Credentials Committee (or designate), Chief Medical Officer, Department Head, or Chief of Staff of the primary health care facility where the diplomate practices, 3) a board-certified physician in another specialty, and 4) a technologist/CLS or pathologists assistant.
  • Patient Safety – All diplomates are required to complete a Component I Patient Safety Course (PSC) at least once during each 10-year CC Cycle. Component I PSCs have been approved by either ABMS or ABPath for content and are the only PSCs acceptable to meet this CC requirement. Component II PSCs have not been approved by ABMS or ABPath for content and do not meet the CC requirement. Component II PSCs may only be reported as Part II CME activities.
    • Diplomates enrolled in the CC program 2006-2011 must complete the course by the 10th year of the cycle for the first 10-year Cycle only. For each subsequent cycle, the course must be completed within the first two reporting periods (or by the 4th year) of the cycle. For all other diplomates, the course must be completed within the first two reporting periods (or by the 4th year) for each cycle. ABPath allows all Component I Patient Safety Courses to be reported for both Part II SAM credit and Part IV PI/QA activity requirements.
 
Enrollment and Annual Fees:
Each diplomate is assessed an annual fee for establishment and maintenance of an ‎electronic record of certification via PATHway.  The annual fee is $150 starting in 2021.  The ‎fee is per physician (not per certificate) and is linked to the electronic submission of each 2-year ‎reporting form. A late fee of $100 will be assessed for late submission of a reporting form.‎ A reinstatement fee of $500 will be assessed to any diplomate that allows certification to ‎lapse due to non-participation in CC.‎ The registration fee for the CC examination is $700.‎

For diplomates with lifetime certificates, there is a one-time fee of $100 to enroll and ‎initiate participation in the CC Program.  As above, a fee is also due at the end of each 2-year ‎reporting cycle.

Sources of MOC

The ASDP offers a wide array of live end enduring activities that satisfy Part II: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment:
For a list of other ABPath-approved CC programs visit https://www.abpath.org/index.php/continuing-certification/educational-providers-and-sponsoring-organizations

Updated 04/13/21