Update on pathway to Addiction Medicine certification

Updated Aug. 6, 2019

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration have acknowledged a severe shortage of Addiction Medicine specialists to treat the nation’s epidemic of opioid and alcohol addictions. In response to this need, the AOA is committed to credentialing skilled physicians in the area of Addiction Medicine who can help meet the demand for quality healthcare among patients with substance use disorder (SUD).

The AOA’s Board of Trustees (BOT), Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS), and Certifying Board Services (CBS), are comprehensively evaluating all options concerning the pathway to board certification in Addiction Medicine.

The following timeline details recent developments:

March 2019

  • In response to requests to revisit the Addiction Medicine certification pathway, a subcommittee of the AOA Board of Trustees was tasked with leading initial efforts and analysis to determine the feasibility of re-opening Addiction Medicine certification.

April 2019

  • The AOA Finance Committee voted to postpone a resolution to reopen the Addiction Medicine certification and clinical pathway until its June 24, 2019 committee meeting.
  • A subcommittee of the BOT-CBS Task Force reviewed the financial impact of costs to develop and maintain an Addiction Medicine board certification program.
  • To determine the level of interest in Addiction Medicine certification, the AOA partnered with the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) to conduct a survey of more than 20,000 practicing physicians across the full spectrum of specialties and practice stages. Survey results indicated a strong level of interest in a pathway for certification in Addiction Medicine.

May 2019

  • It is expected that the AOA will initiate discussions with AOAAM to review supporting data from the April survey and develop a work plan to move the program forward.

June 2019

  • Diplomates whose current certificates expire in 2019 will be notified of outcomes that impact requirements for recertification.

July 2019

  • The AOA’s House of Delegates adopted the Addiction Medicine CAQ resolution (H-232/A/2019) during the Annual Business Meeting on Saturday, July 27, 2019, establishing a clinical practice pathway be developed and approved by the AOA conjoint examination committee in Addiction Medicine and be opened for three years after the initial exam administration.

August 2019

  • The AOA entered into an agreement with the American Osteopathic Academy of Addiction Medicine (AOAAM) regarding shared risk for costs associated with the opening of a clinical practice pathway for initial osteopathic board certification in addiction medicine.