Certification Matters

Anesthesiology board replaces 10-year re-certification exam

Updated OCC requirements seek to avoid duplication, reduce stress for diplomates.


American Osteopathic Board of Anesthesiology (AOBA) diplomates whose certification expires between 2019-2021 will be the first to take an online, open-book assessment instead of the 10-year osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) exam.

AOBA’s new requirements for OCC go into effect on June 1, 2019. Under the new format for cognitive assessment, diplomates will take online exams every three years.

The AOBA is the second of 18 AOA certifying boards to significantly amend its requirements for board certification, following the American Osteopathic Board of Radiology’s changes last summer.

The 18 AOA certifying boards are evolving board certification to ensure that it is convenient, cost-effective and relevant to diplomates’ clinical practice, says Dan Williams, DO, vice president of certifying board services.

“Board certification must be less of a pain point for practicing physicians. Eliminating the stress of taking a 10-year test will better serve them and the more frequent assessments will keep ongoing learning relevant and aligned with quality patient care,” Dr. Williams said.

For the 2019-2021 CME cycle, AOBA diplomates will also notice a decrease in the required number of CME credits, reflecting the board’s understanding that CME is already required to maintain licensure in most states. The three-year CME cycle now requires 75 specialty credits, down from 120 CME credits.

Effective June 1, updated requirements for OCC for AOBA include the following four components:

  1. Licensure: Requires that AOA board-certified physicians hold a valid, active license to practice medicine in one of the 50 U.S. states or Canada.
  2. Lifelong learning/CME: AOBA board-certified physicians with time-limited certificates must earn 75 CME credits in the 2019-2021 AOA CME cycle, of which at least 18 CME credits must be AOA Category 1-A.
  3. Cognitive assessment: AOBA board-certified physicians must complete an online cognitive assessment every three years to comply with OCC. It becomes available in June.
  4. Practice performance assessment and improvement: Physicians can attest to their performance improvement activities by logging in to the AOA Physician Portal. Physicians must also complete a practice Performance Improvement Assessment (PPA). For more information on how to submit a PPA, visit the AOBA website.

To learn more about AOA board certification, visit certification.osteopathic.org.


    1. Barry Korn

      AOBFP definitely needs an update in the Board re-certification process. Hopefully they will follow the lead of the Anesthesiology and Radiology Boards.

  1. Eyedoc DO

    I hope these changes take place in all the AOA boards. Its about time and we salute the leadership in radiology and anesthesiology for leading the way!

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