Statement on Continuous Certification

Continuous Certification (CC), or what was once known as MOC (Maintenance of Certification) refers to the continuous process of professional development that surgeons must participate in to maintain board certification. Board certification is a professional credential that communicates to patients that a physician is up to date with the most recent standards of practice and patient care. Even though CC promotes high-quality patient care, a vocal minority of physicians have expressed displeasure with MOC/CC calling on state legislatures to prohibit the use of MOC for licensure, hospital privileging, reimbursement, and employment. In response to these concerns, several states have enacted legislation prohibiting MOC/CC in some way.

The Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES) would like to add its voice to the other surgical organizations who support the concept of continuous certification for surgeons and strongly argues against  movements to initiate legislation prohibiting MOC/CC. SAGES believes such efforts to enact anti MOC/CC legislation interferes with the right of the profession to set its own standards, interferes with the ability of hospital medical staffs to set quality standards for their institutions, and denies patients the right to know whether the specialists caring for them are up to date in their fields. SAGES supports the process of board certification and recertification through continuous professional education and evaluation as an important guarantee to the public that surgeons meet the highest standards of quality surgical care.*

*Adapted from ACS Statement on MOC (

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Guidelines for clinical practice are intended to indicate preferable approaches to medical problems as established by experts in the field. These recommendations will be based on existing data or a consensus of expert opinion when little or no data are available. Guidelines are applicable to all physicians who address the clinical problem(s) without regard to specialty training or interests, and are intended to indicate the preferable, but not necessarily the only acceptable approaches due to the complexity of the healthcare environment. Guidelines are intended to be flexible. Given the wide range of specifics in any health care problem, the surgeon must always choose the course best suited to the individual patient and the variables in existence at the moment of decision.

Guidelines are developed under the auspices of the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons and its various committees, and approved by the Board of Governors. Each clinical practice guideline has been systematically researched, reviewed and revised by the guidelines committee, and reviewed by an appropriate multidisciplinary team. The recommendations are therefore considered valid at the time of its production based on the data available. Each guideline is scheduled for periodic review to allow incorporation of pertinent new developments in medical research knowledge, and practice.

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