OSTEOPATHIC BOARD CERTIFICATION

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What is ARC?

Advanced Real-time Certification (ARC) is the AOBOG’s new online exam process for OCC Component 3 (recertification).

You told us you wanted a flexible and more meaningful OCC process, and ARC delivers innovation by replacing the in-person exam required every six years with an online longitudinal assessment program.

What is longitudinal assessment?

Longitudinal assessment combines adult learning principles with modern technology, and involves administering shorter assessments while controlling the frequency of delivery over time to support learning and retention.

For primary OB/GYN certification, you will answer 24 assessment items annually (eight per quarter for the first three quarters of each year). In the fourth quarter, you will have an opportunity to revisit any of the 24 items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation process. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters and will be counted toward your final performance outcome (score).

For subspecialty certification, you will answer 10 assessment items over a period of 9 months (three quarters). In the fourth quarter, you will also have an opportunity to revisit any items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation process.

How much does ARC cost?

The cost to participate in ARC is included in the new annual OCC fee: $300 for one certification and $150 for each additional certification.

The fee structure has been updated in response to diplomate feedback requesting a lower, more affordable yearly fee.

The annual OCC fee is paid each calendar year and will be due at the time of registration.

How do I register for ARC?

Register for ARC online through our online application system.

At the time of registration, you will select your scope of practice:

  • OB/GYN
  • Obstetrics only
  • Gynecology only

You should only select “Obstetrics only” or “Gynecology only” if you practice solely in that area. If you do even a little of both, you should select OB/GYN as your scope of practice.

When do I need to register?

For the initial 2019-2020 launch year, the registration deadline is March 31, 2020.

If you intend to designate a limited scope of practice (“Obstetrics only” or “Gynecology only”), you must register and opt into the special tracks by Monday, October 14, 2019.

After that, the registration deadline will be December 1 of the year prior to expiration of your certification. For example, if your certification expires in 2021, the registration deadline will be Dec. 1, 2020.

What do I need to “pass” ARC?

You are required to achieve an overall score of 85% correct (21/24) to pass. In the fourth quarter, you will have an opportunity to revisit any of the 24 items answered incorrectly to facilitate the learning and remediation. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.

What happens if I don’t pass?

If you do not achieve 85% correct by the end of the remediation period, your certificate will be inactivated on January 1, following its current expiration date.

In order to reactivate your certification, you must pass the traditional OCC written exam (100 question multiple-choice exam for primary OB/GYN or oral exam for a subspecialty).

Upon passing the exam and completing any other outstanding OCC requirements, will have your credentials submitted for reactivation of your certification.

You will only re-enter the longitudinal assessment (ARC) after certification has been reactivated. AOBOG will continue to offer the traditional OCC exam twice per year (spring and fall) for inactive/expired certifications only.

Do I have to take the OCC exam plus ARC?

No. ARC replaces the traditional written OCC exam required every six years.

What type of assessment items will be in ARC?

For primary certification, the default will be a combination of Obstetrics and Gynecology items. Diplomates whose scope of practice is restricted (e.g. OB hospitalists who do not practice gynecology or diplomates whose sole practice is office gynecology) will be able to identify these key areas of practice and experience clinical scenarios and assessment items more relevant to their practice.

How often will I need to answer questions?

Primary certification schedule:

  • Quarter 1: Jan. 5 – March 31 (Initial launch year only. Quarter  1 will begin Sept. 4, 2019 and end March 31, 2020)
  • Quarter 2: April 1 – June 30
  • Quarter 3: July 1 – Sept. 30
  • Quarter 4 (remediation): Oct. 1 – Dec. 15

Subspecialty certification schedule:

  • Segment 1: Jan. 5 – Sept. 30 (Initial launch year only. Segment 1 will begin April 1, 2020 and end Sept. 31, 2020)
  • Segment 2 (remediation): Oct. 1 – Dec. 15
Why does the last quarter end on Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31?

The last quarter ends Dec. 15 instead of Dec. 31 to prevent a possible lapse in your certification. The Dec. 15 deadline gives the AOBOG office time to submit your credentials to the AOA for activation of your new certification before the old one expires. The earlier you complete ARC for the year, the earlier your new certification can be activated.

Do I have a certain amount of time to answer the questions?

You will have unlimited time to answer your questions (within the quarterly timeframe). However, once you start a question, you must keep your session active and submit an answer or it will be marked incorrect. The system will time out after 20 minutes of inactivity. You may log into ARC at a future time to complete the quarterly assessment items.

What happens if I don't complete the assessment items within the quarter or my computer times out before I complete an answer?

Any items left unanswered at the end of a quarter will be marked as incorrect/unanswered. Any questions that time out due to inactivity will be marked as incorrect/unanswered. You will be able to revisit these questions and any other incorrect questions in the fourth quarter. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.

Will I still remain certified for 6 years?

The intent of OCC has always been continuous certification. You have requirements that need to be maintained throughout your certification to maintain active status. Expiration dates have been removed from all hard copy certificates to reflect the continuous nature of OCC.

What do I need to do if I'm a certified subspecialist?

If you are a subspecialist who also holds active, time-limited certification in OB/GYN, you are required to complete ARC for OB/GYN and for your subspecialty. You may choose the “OB/GYN,” “Obstetrics only,” or “Gynecology only” track as appropriate for that area.

For subspecialty certification, you will receive 10 assessment items annually (beginning Jan. 5 and through Sept. 30), and again have a built-in opportunity to revisit any incorrectly answered items in the Oct. 1– Dec. 15 remediation period. Items answered correctly in this second-chance round will replace the incorrectly answered items from the previous quarters.

As a reminder, AOA and AOBOG do not require certified subspecialists to maintain primary Ob/GYN certification; however, we strongly advise that you consult with all employers, hospitals, payers, insurance companies, etc. to confirm their requirements and ensure there will be no adverse effects, before choosing to drop primary OB/GYN certification.

Will I need to read any articles to answer the questions?

The assessment items on the ARC platform use ACOG Practice Bulletins as their primary reference sources. The Practice Bulletins are helpful, but not essential to answer the questions.

The automated emails generated to from the ARC platform to registrants will tell you which Practice Bulletins are most relevant to the questions for that quarter and your track. This information will also be available in the “Resources” section on the ARC platform.

How do I access the ACOG Practice Bulletins?

Due to copyright restrictions, AOBOG cannot provide access to the Practice Bulletins.  However they are available to all active ACOG members and can be purchased online through the ACOG bookstore, or through membership with ACOOG (as part of the ACOG Compendium).

Can I opt not to participate in ARC?

If you hold a time-limited certification through AOBOG, participation in ARC is mandatory to meet your requirements for OCC Component 3 (Cognitive Assessment), as it replaces the traditional once-per-six-year exam. All certificates issued after July 1, 2002 are time-limited.

If you hold a non-time-limited certification through AOBOG, participation in ARC and OCC in general is voluntary and highly encouraged.

 

What if I have an inactive/expired certificate?

Physicians who hold inactive or expired certificates must pass the traditional OCC exam (100 question multiple-choice exam for primary OB/GYN or oral exam for the subspecialties). Upon passing the exam and completing any other outstanding OCC requirements, credentials will be submitted for reactivation of their certification.

Diplomates will only enter the longitudinal assessment (ARC) after certification has been reactivated. AOBOG will continue to offer the traditional OCC exam twice per year (spring and fall) for inactive/expired certifications only.