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AOA Announces One-Year Extension of Board Eligibility

BOS updates board certification policy to support osteopathic physicians during COVID-19

Thursday, April 9, 2020

The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) and division of Certifying Board Services (CBS) has announced a one-year extension of board eligibility status will be granted to graduating residents and other physicians seeking initial certification or recertification in 2020, among other policy changes, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We understand that in the midst of these extraordinary times, the priority for all physicians and health care providers must be caring for their patients, families and communities. We’re committed to doing everything we can to support osteopathic physicians through this historic public health crisis,” said BOS Chair Raymond Depa, DO.

Recognizing the impact of COVID-19, the BOS announced the following AOA Board Certification policy changes, which take effect immediately:

Initial Certification

  • A one-year extension of board eligibility status will be granted to graduating residents and other physicians seeking initial certification for primary, subspecialty and conjoint boards who are unable to sit for their certification board exams in 2020.
  • Once testing windows are reopened at Prometric and Pearson VUE, graduating residents and other physicians may still choose to take their initial certification exam in 2020. Please note, seat availability may be limited.
  • In addition to traditional venues for administration of initial certification exams, the AOA Certifying Board Services team is investigating options for leveraging technology to support remote proctoring of exam administration in 2020 and beyond. Information on these options will be communicated as it becomes available.

Osteopathic Continuous Certification

Component 2 (Lifelong Learning):

  • The BOS is working with the Council of Osteopathic CME (COCME) leadership exploring a variety of CME options, including COVID-19 specific activities (clinical or practice management) for the remainder of the 2019-2021 CME cycle. More information will be shared as it becomes available.

Component 3 (Cognitive Assessment):

  • A one-year extension of board certification will be granted to diplomates whose certification expires in 2020 and who are required by their specialty board to take a traditional, high-stakes recertification exam.
  • Once testing windows are reopened at Prometric and Pearson VUE, diplomates may choose to take their recertification exams in 2020. Please note, seat availability may be limited. In addition to traditional venues for administration of initial certification exams, the AOA Certifying Board Services team is investigating options for leveraging technology to support remote proctoring of exam administration in 2020 and beyond. Information on these options will be communicated as it becomes available.
  • There will be no change in the recertification requirements for specialty boards that have transitioned away from high stakes recertification examinations and are now offering longitudinal OCC assessment models for recertification. These Specialty Boards are:
      • AOBA
      • AOBR
      • AOBOG
      • AOBEM: For diplomates whose certification expires in 2020 and who are now participating in AOBEM’s continuous osteopathic recertification (CORE) examination process.

Component 4 (Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement):

  • For diplomates whose certification expires Dec. 31, 2020, the Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement (PPA) requirements for the 2020 calendar year are eliminated for all AOA specialty certifying boards. PPA requirements will resume Jan. 1, 2021.

For more information on assistance for resident physicians impacted by COVID-19 related exam postponements, email certification@osteopathic.org.