ABPN’s Maintenance of Certification: What You Need to Know

My folio page told me that I have completed 50 of the 300 CME credits due by 2017, but none of the 24 SA credits due. I wasn’t crestfallen—I’ve actually done a lot more than 50 credits, but ABPN doesn’t know about it yet. I was happy to be told that I have to complete only 24 SA credits before 2017.

III.    Take a test. You still have to take a test every 10 years. Incredibly, you have to sign up for the test a full year in advance. Don’t let that one slip off your to-do list.

IV.    Performance in Practice. The idea behind PIP is that CME credits and exams aren’t good enough for demonstrating clinical abilities. You need more valid evidence, in the form of chart information, and evaluations from your patients or peers.

You have to complete one PIP activity every three years—which is a bit of a misnomer because “one” PIP includes two activities—a “clinical” activity plus your choice of two “feedback” activities— patient feedback or peer feedback.

Clinical Activities. The clinical activity involves choosing at least five charts and collecting data about how well you are following practice guidelines. Are you asking all your depressed patients about suicidality at each visit? Are you weighing patients who are taking antipsychotics? It’s up to you to choose which guidelines to focus on, and then to assess your performance in order to develop a plan for improving your practice. After at least six months, you are then required to choose five different patient charts to see if you’ve changed your ways (or have just improved your documentation).

While theoretically you could do all this on your own, ABPN essentially requires that you do your clinical activity through one of their “approved” products, which are listed online (see You have two options here—you can either pay money for a product that is independent of pharmaceutical companies, or you can pay nothing for an industry-funded product. If it seems distressing that ABPN would officially approve educational activities funded by companies that stand to profit from the “Performances in Practice” being taught, you’re not alone!

Feedback Activities. You can choose either five patients or five colleagues to fill out an evaluation of your professional skills. The forms are downloadable here: Of course, this is unlikely to be a valid measure of one’s competence, since you are free to cherry pick the patients or colleagues who love you the best.

What to do with all your paperwork.

This article originally appeared in The Carlat Psychiatry Report -- an unbiased monthly covering all things psychiatry.
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Just keep it all. You don’t have to furnish any evidence to ABPN that you’ve actually completed any MOC requirement, but you do have to tell them that you’ve done so. It’s on the honor system, though ABPN has said it will audit approximately 5% of psychiatrists to keep everyone on their toes.

MOC certification appears to be a well-intentioned work in progress. We hope that ABPN takes the “in progress” part seriously.

TCPR’S VERDICT: MOC certification appears to be a well-intentioned work in progress. We hope that ABPN takes the “in progress” part seriously.

Steps in the MOI Process1

ABPN’s Maintenance of Certification: What You Need to Know

This article originally appeared in:

The Carlat Psychiatry Report
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This article was published in print 9/2014 in Volume:Issue 12:9.


APA Reference
Carlat,, D. (2016). ABPN’s Maintenance of Certification: What You Need to Know. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 6, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 10 Aug 2016
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Aug 2016
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