Component 3: Cognitive Assessment


To complete Component 3 requirements for Osteopathic Continuous Certification in Hospice and Palliative Medicine, a physician must pass a written examination once per 10-year OCC cycle.

Exam Process

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine Conjoint offers an OCC Written Exam in Hospice and Palliative Medicine. Exams are offered once each year, generally every August. The application period opens in March. The first deadline is July 1, with a late fee and the final deadline is Aug. 1.

For physicians holding time-dated certification, failure to successfully complete the OCC process will result in the loss of certification when their current certification expires.

For physicians with non-time-limited (non-dated, non-expiring) certifications, OCC participation is not required, although they may elect to do so voluntarily.

OCC Cognitive Assessment Exam Content

The Hospice and Palliative Medicine exam is a 3-hour written examination consisting of 100 multiple-choice, single-answer questions. Questions are taken from current literature, including journals, monographs, recent publications and recognized texts.

Topics include the following:

OCC Cognitive Exam
Approach to care 7-12%
Psycho-social and spiritual considerations 8-12%
Impending death 6-10%
Grief and bereavement 4-8%
Medical management 40-46%
Communication and teamwork 4-9%
Ethical and legal decision-making 6-10%
Prognostication and natural history of serious history 6-10%

Applications and Payment

The OCC cognitive assessment exam can be taken within two years of your certification’s expiration date.

OCC Cognitive Assessment Exam
EXAM Type Fee
OCC Cognitive Assessment Exam Fee $1,200
OCC Late Application Fee (After July 1) $360

Exam Results

The final score is determined by the number of questions answered correctly.  There is no penalty for guessing.  The minimum passing score reflects an absolute standard developed by the AOA Boards participating in this conjoint examination.

After the exam is given, it will be psychometrically analyzed and evaluated to ensure the reliability of individual results.  Your results will be released to you within 90 days of the date of the exam through the candidate’s online exam portal.  Questions regarding exam results and any appeals of the examination must be submitted in writing within 30 days of the date results were released

Exam Failure

For physicians holding time-dated certification, failure to successfully complete the OCC process will result in the loss of certification when their current certification expires.

Rescoring of Examinations

Candidates have the right to request a rescore and audit process of their examination scores. Requests for the rescoring and audit must be submitted to the Board in writing via formal letter or email within one month of the Board’s release of the exam results. The fee for rescoring and audit is $200. The Board will commence the rescoring and audit process following receipt of the candidate’s request and payment. This process is limited to rescoring and audit of the candidate’s exam.  Candidates are not allowed to review specific items on the examination. The Board will not reevaluate or reset the “cut” score for passing the exam. The electronic examination data of candidates will be destroyed 24 months after administration of the examination.

Compliance With Federal Regulations

The Board supports the intent of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for candidates who meet ADA eligibility. The board will make a reasonable effort to provide qualified board candidates who have documented disabilities the necessary auxiliary aids and services that do not fundamentally alter the measurement of the skills or knowledge the board assessment process is intended to test or result in an undue burden.

The Board supports the intent of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) for all patients or patient records that may be used as part of any part of the Hospice and Palliative Medicine board certification process.