This depends on if the learner has earned equal amounts for each credit type, or differing amounts. The following examples show how to report learners for each of these instances.
Same amount of credit earned for each credit type:
When reporting a learner for credit you will want to include the amount of credit and all credit types earned for their participation. In this case, Dr. John Smith has earned 8.00 points of ABPath Lifelong Learning, and 8.00 points for ABPath SAM credit. This is reported in a single record with both types indicated.
Different amount of credit earned for each credit type:
If Dr. Smith earned 8.00 points of ABPath Lifelong Learning credit, but only 5.00 of these points were SAM-eligible, you would report/send two records. PARS can only accept the same point value for each record submitted, and there are cases in which you must submit certain credit types along with required credit OR there are credit types with cannot be submitted on their own. The examples below show how differing credit should be correctly reported. The first record would show 5.00 points for Lifelong Learning and SAM, the second would be the remaining 3.00 Lifelong Learning credits.
We have collaborated with American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) certifying boards to simplify and align the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process to better meet the needs of physicians and educators. MOC is also referred to as Continuing Certification or Continuous Certification. Although it may be called different names by different boards, the intent is the same. These collaborations increase the number and diversity of accredited CME activities that meet the requirements for MOC and streamline the process for accredited CME providers and physicians.
CME providers do not need to submit MOC applications for approval to the certifying boards that are collaborating with the ACCME. Instead, accredited CME providers use PARS to register activities for these programs using a trust and verify framework. As part of this registration process, providers attest to compliance with certifying board requirements, agree to collect the required individual learner completion data and report it via PARS, agree to abide by certifying board/ACCME requirements for use of the data, agree to allow ACCME to publish data about the activity on ACCME’s website, and agree to comply with requests for information about the activity if the activity is selected for review by the ACCME.
If you are new to MOC, you may want to first read the CME for MOC beginner’s guide, as this goes over the collaboration at a high level.
The ACCME has created a CME for MOC program guide which details the requirements for offering MOC as part of your organization’s educational program.
This program guide contains an activity planning guide which goes through the requirements step by step to assist you in meeting these criteria when planning and implementing MOC activities. This guide is also available as a stand-alone document for providers to use when planning their CME activities as offering MOC.
Accredited CME providers use PARS to enter and register CME activities that count for MOC. A provider can use PARS to enter in CME activities, and complete a few additional steps in order to register an activity for MOC.
As part of this registration process, providers must:
- Attest to compliance with the requirements outlines in the CME for MOC program guide
- Agree to collect the required individual learner completion data and submit it via PARS
- Agree to abide by the board's and ACCME's requirements for use of the data
- Agree to allow ACCME to publish data about the activity on ACCME’s website
- Agree to comply with requests for information about the activity if the activity is selected for an audit by the ACCME.
The ACCME has created a step-by-step tutorial which outlines this process in PARS.
There are three options available to register a CME activity for MOC in PARS:
- Entering the activity manually in the PARS interface and completing additional fields required to register the activity for MOC.
- Using the XML batch activity upload method, including the certifying board’s MOC registration data in the file.
- Registering activities via ACCME’s web service, including the certifying board’s MOC registration data in the XML sent.
You cannot batch upload the MOC registration information for activities using the tab-delimited batch upload option. However, if you enter the general information for activities required by PARS via tab-delimited batch upload, the certifying board’s MOC registration fields can then be completed manually in PARS for any activity that you wish to register for MOC.
For more information see Technical Information for Submitting Data via Batch Upload or Web Services.
Providers are encouraged to register their activities for MOC as far in advance of the activity start date as possible. This allows learners to find the activity on CME Finder. This also allows providers to enter participant data quickly after the event occurs.
Providers should not wait until the end of the year to report activities registered for MOC; they should enter them into PARS as they are planned prior to advertising these activities as offering MOC to their physician learners.
For most CME activities that are registered for MOC, the number of MOC points will typically be the same as the number of CME credits available for the activity. However, it is possible that a large activity (ex: Annual Meeting) might only have certain sessions that qualify for MOC points. In that case, the number of MOC points could be less than the number of CME credits that could be earned.
Yes, activities which are relevant to multiple specialties can be registered for more than one board. Certain activities may be relevant to any specialty.
Yes, training on broad, cross-specialty topics can be registered for MOC as demonstrated by the professional practice gap(s) and content of the activity and if the provider is meeting all requirements listed in the program guide. Here are some examples:
- Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS)
- Advanced Trauma Life Support (ATLS)
- Clinician Burnout
- Electronic Health Records (EHR)
- Grand Rounds, Tumor Boards, Morbidity and Mortality
- Opioid Education
- Overall Wellness
- Patient Safety
- QI Basics
- Shared Decision-making
- Team-Based Care
These types of activities can also be registered for multiple boards as this content will typically be relevant for multiple specialties.
Yes, you may offer learners the opportunity to earn different types of credits for the same activity as long as the activity meets the different requirements for each available credit type. To determine what specific credit combinations learners may earn for each board and their requirements, please refer to the CME for MOC Program Guide.
No, providers should report any multi-session annual meeting as a single CME activity in PARS. If registering an activity for MOC, you may designate the maximum amount of MOC points offered to reflect only the sessions that offer MOC.
For example, if your annual meeting includes 20 1-hour sessions, but only 5 sessions during that meeting offer MOC, then you should enter 5 points in the data field asking for the number of MOC points.
Some boards accept CME credit towards their certification requirements. For these boards the field to enter MOC credit will default to the amount of CME.
Accredited providers should report multi-session regularly scheduled series (RSS) as a single activity in PARS, regardless of whether the entire series offers MOC or not. You should not enter individual sessions of the series as separate activity instances in PARS. When completing the fields for MOC in PARS, provide the maximum number of MOC points that are available to the participants for the entire series.
If not all sessions in an RSS offer MOC, report the maximum number of MOC points for the sessions that do meet MOC requirements. For example, if the RSS meets for 1 hour monthly (12 hours total for the year), but only 5 of the sessions offer MOC, you would report 12 hours of instruction/CME for the activity but enter 5 points in the data field asking for the number of MOC points.
Some boards accept AMA credit towards their certification requirements. For these boards the field to enter MOC credit will default to the amount of CME.
Once learner participation has been reported for a MOC activity, you will not be able to delete it. PARS also restricts certain changes from being made after learner participation has been reported.
If you need assistance making changes to your MOC activity, please contact the ACCME at email@example.com.
Each board has a statement that providers should use in order to inform learners that your activity offers MOC for a specific board (or boards). These statements should be provided to learners on any advertising materials and programs prior to the activity. In general, these statements require that you inform your learners for which board(s) the activity is registered, how many credits they can earn, and for which credit types. Several boards also have CME for MOC badges available for use in your advertisements, however this is optional.
Once an activity is registered in PARS for MOC, the activity will appear in CME Finder for physicians to search and find out more information.
CME Finder is a web-based search tool designed to help healthcare professionals find accredited CME activities that meet their needs. Users can search for information about currently available CME activities that have been registered for Maintenance of Certification (MOC), activities that meet the expectations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and/or the FDA’s Opioid Analgesics Risk Evaluation and Mitigations Strategies (REMS) Programs.
Activities are searchable by CME provider name, date, location, specialty, and MOC points/credit type. Activity information for ACCME’s CME Finder is derived from data that organizations accredited within the ACCME system enter into the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS).
For CME activities that are not open to the public (e.g., activities available only for employees or members of the provider’s organization), the provider can indicate that registration is "limited" when registering the activity in PARS. On CME Finder, such activities will be listed as “limited,” letting learners know that registration for the activity is limited to a specific audience and not open to all physicians. It is up to the provider to put restrictions in place for learner access to the activity if necessary, as indicating “limited” only indicates that the activity may not be available.
Access CME Finder here.
Each provider must have systems, resources, and processes in place to:
- Collect and report the following data:
- Learner’s certifying board ID number,
- First name,
- Last name,
- Month and day of the date of birth (mm/dd),
- Activity completion date, and
- Credit type(s) and amount of credit earned
- Obtain permission from the learner to share the completion information with their board via ACCME PARS.
- Transmit the completion information to ACCME on behalf of the learner in a timely manner. It is the ACCME and the certifying board’s expectation that learners be entered into the system no more than 30 days after the physician has completed the evaluation requirements to earn MOC.
Learner completion is reported through PARS and can be entered into the system in a variety of ways.
- Entering learners manually in the PARS interface.
- Using the Tab-Delimited or XML batch upload method.
- Reporting Learners via ACCME’s web service.
The ACCME has created a step-by-step tutorial which goes into detail for each of these methods.
A provider must first have a mechanism in place to obtain permission from the learner to share the information with the ACCME so that it can be transmitted to their certifying board.
You will need to collect the following information from each board-certified physician claiming MOC in order to report their participant completion data in PARS:
- Date of completion
- Learner’s certifying board ID
- First name
- Last name
- Date of birth (month/day only)
This information is used to ensure that the data is accurate and valid, and associated with the correct board-certified physician when it is being reported to the board.
In addition to this collected information, you will need to indicate which activity the learner completed, along with the credit type(s) and how many MOC points were earned.
We encourage CME providers to submit participant data as soon as possible after the activity or evaluation component has been completed, so that points earned will reflect in the physician’s records. Accredited providers are asked to submit learner completion data to PARS within 30 days of the learner’s completion of the activity/evaluation.
Please note: Many board-certified physicians need to complete their MOC activities by December 31 in order for the MOC points to count toward any MOC requirements that are due by the end of the year. To that end, providers should report participant completion data by December 31 to ensure that the MOC points count towards this year’s requirements.
ABP diplomates must meet yearly reporting requirements related to completion of activities by December 1. Activities completed after December 1 must have completions entered immediately into PARS.
For activities that span multiple years (such as enduring materials), learner data should be reported in the reporting year the learner participated. Activities should be entered into PARS for each year they are active, and learners reported under the corresponding ACCME Activity ID.
PARS will be open to accept late learner completion data through March 31 two years after the reporting year, after which time that reporting year will be closed for learner completion data. This means that any 2020 learner completion can be entered into PARS for 2020 activities until March 31, 2022. 2021 completions can be entered until March 31, 2023, etc. If you have a learner completion that can no longer be accepted into PARS, please contact the specialty board directly to see if they will accept the credit on their end. Contact information for the boards can be found in the CME for MOC Program Guide in each board’s section.
Learner completion should still be reported in a timely manner after the learner has engaged in the activity, however PARS allows late reporting for exceptions due to technical error or issues with the learner claiming credit.
To delete a learner record through the web interface, you will have to first make sure that the original record has fully processed with an Accepted response. You cannot delete a record with a “Submitted” status. You can click on the “Details” link to the right of the learner record to select the incorrect completion for deletion. This delete may take up to a few days to fully process with the board, and you will know when it has successfully deleted when the learner record no longer appears in PARS.
You can also delete learners through the batch upload methods or web services. To do this you would indicate a record action of “Delete” in your upload.
You cannot partially remove points from a learner if the wrong amount was submitted. You must delete the entire record, and re-upload for the correct amount. It is also not necessary to remove Rejected records from the system, as they will not appear to the learner. You may choose to remove them if you wish following the same steps above.
You should report learners for MOC credit as they engage in the RSS and complete any evaluation/participation requirements in order to earn MOC credit. You should not wait until the end of the year to report the number of credits earned for an RSS.
In PARS, you can report the completion date as the date of the session attended and award the number of points earned for the session. If you click on the “details” link to the right of a learner record you can view all of the sessions and dates attended, and the total amount the learner has earned so far in the series.
Yes. Learners can be reported for their engagement in an activity up to the maximum amount available. Learners can be reported in quarter-hour increments (.25) and can be reported within the same activity multiple times depending how/when the credit is earned.
The American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) and American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA) only allow one completion date per activity per learner, so if you need to report a learner multiple times for one of these boards you will need to make sure the completion date is not the same for each of these instances.
PARS will send a rejection report when learners are rejected by the board. The email will contain an error message explaining what caused the rejection (for example the learner has already earned the maximum amount of points for the activity). Providers can also see the reason for rejection by hovering over the Rejected status in the PARS interface.
Certain boards (ABA and ABP) will check and enforce granting credit to a diplomate for each unique activity (ACCME Activity ID) once per day (date completed). These implementations are in place to reduce the incidence of accidental duplicate MOC credit reported to the boards (with the exception of completion credit for Journal-based CME activities).
- A diplomate can only receive participation credit for completing each unique activity (ACCME Activity ID) once per day (date completed), and
- In the case of ABA, If the activity offers both CME and CME which counts for Patient Safety, a max of two participation records for the unique activity be allow diplomate per day – one record including the amount of CME + Patient Safety earned, and (if applicable) one record including the remainder of the CME earned. See the tutorial above for more information regarding multi-credit type reporting.
If the participant data submitted via PARS does not match the information in a diplomate's board record, PARS will not be able to confirm the participant’s identity and will not accept the completion record. The provider will be notified immediately via a validation error message in the PARS interface or in the batch upload report, depending on what data submission method is being used. The provider will subsequently need to reach out to the learner to obtain the correct information and re-enter the corrected data for it to be successfully submitted to the certifying board.
The learner should be able to provide their certifying board ID number, however if they do not know their information, they can reach out to their specific certifying board to obtain this. Some of the boards have public look-up tools which providers can use to find this information as well. These resources are outlined in the CME for MOC Program Guide under each board’s section.
When you submit participant completion data, PARS will verify the participant's information against simple validation rules, and if verified, will transmit the record to the certifying board(s) for further validation. After this has processed, the participant record status will change to "accepted" or "rejected" in PARS. This process typically takes about 24 hours to complete, however this timing can vary. If a learner record is rejected an email notification will be sent to the primary contact listed for your organization, and the reason for rejection will appear in PARS. If you need to change your organization’s primary contact, this can be done by going to your organization’s profile and selecting the “contacts” tab.
Participating certifying boards and ACCME share the expectation that accredited providers evaluate the impact of their activities on learners’ knowledge, strategies/skills, performance, and/or patient outcomes (ACCME criterion 11).
The ACCME has a list of example evaluation methods available that would meet MOC requirements for the boards. This list is not a complete list, but intended to show examples of evaluations a provider could choose to implement.
The provider must include an evaluation component that measures learners’ change. Evaluation refers to a question or series of questions or a reflective task that is designed to assess the activity’s goals and purpose. The evaluation should sufficiently address the goals so that a reasonable determination can be made about the learners understanding of the material and the effectiveness of the educational activity.
The accredited provider may choose to evaluate the impact of the activity at the session level or at the activity level. As well, the provider does not need to be limited to a single method of evaluation per activity. Combinations of approaches to evaluation may produce rich information about learner change.
The accredited provider must be able to demonstrate that the learner has participated in/completed the evaluation for the educational activity in order to submit the learner’s participation completion information for the activity. Anonymous learner collection methods, such as an audience response system that is not tied to an individual would not be acceptable as there is no way to demonstrate individual learner completion.
The ACCME has created a list of example evaluation methods providers could choose to use that would meet MOC requirements for the boards. This document contains several different case examples of how reflective statements could be integrated into an activity.
A participation threshold, or passing standard, clearly communicates to the learner exactly what needs to be done in order to earn MOC credit. This can be set according to the intent of the evaluation and is determined by the provider.
- A provider evaluates learners by using case discussions as part of their hospital’s grand rounds. In order to earn MOC credit for the activity, the learners must actively engage in the conversation, and participation is verified by a group leader or observer. The person facilitating this can then attest that the learners have met the participation requirements needed to earn MOC credit.
- If a provider uses a post-test as part of evaluation, the activity planners and/or faculty can determine the minimum number of items that the learners would need to answer correctly to demonstrate that they have adequately absorbed the content of the activity.
Feedback can be provided back to the learner in several ways. Evaluation results (quiz score, reflective statement review, etc.) can be used as feedback. This is best achieved by correcting misconceptions and incorrect responses, showing learners the correct or optimal response, and providing an explanation as to why the correct answer is the best. This can be done live during the activity, or asynchronously. During a live activity, a case discussion where faculty share with learners the appropriateness of the decisions made and the appropriateness of the case outcome is considered acceptable feedback to participants.
The evaluation guide contains different feedback examples that could be provided to learners.
In the case that an activity is selected for review the ACCME will send explicit instructions on what materials will need to be provided and any relevant timelines. ABIM and ABP have sample abstract documents available in the resources section of the CME for MOC webpage. It’s important to note that the ACCME and the boards expect that these reviews are formative and not punitive.
The Planning and Audit guide (Appendix B of the CME for MOC Program Guide) can be a helpful tool in order to determine whether your organization is meeting board requirements. The ACCME has also developed a planning worksheet based off this guide which can help providers ensure that they are taking steps to meet requirements. Please note that these guides can be used in internal planning but are not formal audit documents.