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CBS will provide assistance for resident physicians impacted by exam postponements

Friday, March 20, 2020

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the AOA Department of Certifying Board Services (CBS) is committed to protecting the well-being of AOA candidates, diplomates, examiners and staff. Throughout this crisis, we will continue to communicate with specialty board members and physicians regarding the status of scheduled certification examinations and specialty board meetings.

During the last week, the AOA postponed several upcoming certification exams as a precautionary measure in response to the rapid spread of COVID-19.  We understand these postponements, though unavoidable, will likely disrupt board certification timelines for many. We also understand that disruption of training cycles and fulfillment of GME requirements will impact many, if not most, residents and students.

Regarding training cycle disruption, while we defer to the ACGME and individual residency training programs for their guidance and policies to accommodate, manage and address gaps in training and other GME-related challenges, we’re ready to assist program directors with information and updates and support residency graduates with expedited board certification once meeting their training requirements so that delays in board certification are avoided.

Once all training requirements are met, the AOA’s specialty boards will be ready to assist residents with:

  • Expedited board certification;
  • Identification of resources to fund application fees for those residents experiencing loss of income and financial hardship as a result of the virus; and
  • Case-by-case review for accelerated board certification timelines when completion of on-time training is negatively impacted by situations beyond individuals’ control.

In addition, the AOA is expediting evaluation and launch of technological innovations enhancing access, convenience and ease of exam administration.

Finally, if a resident was registered for an early entry initial certification (EEIC) exam scheduled to occur in the spring of 2020 and an extended need for social distancing results in that exam being rescheduled to the summer or fall of 2020, the EEIC application fee will be applied to the future initial certification exam with no additional administrative costs. Further, despite the fact that the candidate may have graduated, we will honor their resident eligibility status for the EEIC pathway.