October 2003 Bulletin

Academy helps members meet CME requirements for Maintenance of Certification

By Stuart L. Weinstein, MD

As the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) evolves its current recertification program into the program of Maintenance of Certification, one of its critical components is a commitment to “lifelong learning and periodic self assessment.”

For a number of years the ABOS has required 120 hours of continuing medical education in the three years prior to beginning one of the recertification pathways. Some confusion exists among the Academy fellowship with respect to this requirement and how it may or may not differ from state licensing board requirements

As noted in the accompanying table, the ABOS requirements for CME during the three-year time frame in some cases are less than those required by some state licensing boards, and in other cases more. This disparity between CME requirements for state licensure renewal and ABOS recertification (Maintenance of Certification requirements) has caused confusion for many Academy members engaged in the recertification process.

AAOS Members can be assured that the Academy will help them meet the Maintenance of Certification “Lifelong Learning” requirements. The Academy will continue to take steps to increase its CME offerings, including:

The Academy also jointly sponsors a rich CME program with The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, an Academy member benefit.

The Academy’s Council on Education also is working on programs to bring the “six competencies”1 to our CME programs. As the competencies become more ingrained in recertification activities, the Council and its committees want to provide you with the needed information.

To alert ABOS diplomates of their status with regard to Maintenance of Certification, through its new computerized database the ABOS provides a reminder postcard at the time they are eligible for recertification. This notification system is in effect as long as diplomates keep the ABOS updated on their current address. Also to help Academy fellows keep apprised of the Maintenance of Certification program, the Academy has placed a link to the ABOS Web site on the “rollover” Member Services menu on the AAOS home page. Clicking on this link takes you to the ABOS home page where you can click on “Exam Info” to find the schedule of dates relevant to your situation and other useful information.

Academy plans also include articles about Maintenance of Certification on a regular basis in the Bulletin, keeping members apprised of the requirements and examination schedules.

Finally, under the direction of President James Herndon, MD, the Academy has formed a Maintenance of Competence (Certification) Committee reporting to the Board of Directors. It will interact with the ABOS on all issues relating to certification, recertification and Maintenance of Certification. AAOS fellows can be assured that the Academy will strive to help its members meet the educational requirements for Maintenance of Certification, and to help candidate members complete the initial ABOS certification process.

Education has been one of the bedrock activities of the Academy for more than 70 years. Our goal continues to be to help our members meet their CME requirements for recertification with a variety of programs—through numerous formats to suit every preferred learning style. The end result is better prepared surgeons and better patient care.
The Council on Education chairman, Joseph Zuckerman, MD, and I both welcome your comments and concerns, and we may be reached through the Academy office in Rosemont, or via email to Mark Wieting, vice president, education programs, at wieting@aaos.org.

Stuart L. Weinstein, MD, is second vice president of the AAOS.

  1. The six competencies are
    • Patient Care
    • Medical Knowledge
    • Professionalism
    • Practice-based Learning and Improvement
    • Systems-based Practice
    • Interpersonal and Communication Skills

(For more information, see http://www.acgme.org/outcome/comp/compMin.asp)

(Table is below)

CME Hours Required for Licensure in Selected States*

*Please note: requirements change frequently (e.g., New Jersey is expected to institute a requirement in 2004). Please check with your state licensing board for the most current information. For a list of state licensing boards, go to www.fsmb.org, click on "state medical board info" and then click on "board directory" for contact information for all the states.

Also, beyond the number of hours required in a certain time period, many states require CME in specific subject areas such as risk management, family violence and pain management. Again, please check with your state agency.


Required # of CME hours per year

Average hours per year

AMA/AOA/AAFP/ ACOG Category 1 hours required**

Certificates accepted as equivalent

State-mandated CME content/Additional notes


40 2 yrs






20 1 yr




One-time Board Orientation course


60 3 yrs




HIV/AIDS; course must be approved by Kentucky Cabinet for Health Services


100 2 yrs




Study board reqs; risk management


150 3 yrs






40 2 yrs




Ethics (2 hrs.), 20 hrs. in specialty

New Jersey






New York





Infection control, child abuse


60 2 yrs




Of category 1, 15 hours must be interactive


None (pending)





Source: AMA State Medical Licensure Requirements and Statistics 2004
Listing of all states available.

** AMA PRA—American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award
     AOA—American Osteopathic Association

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