Osteopathic physicians (DOs) certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) can now receive reciprocal certification from the AOA’s Certifying Board Services.
This opportunity is available to all DOs certified by an ABMS member board prior on or before Nov. 21, 2020, and will not require physicians to take their corresponding AOA specialty or subspecialty board’s initial certification exam or pay initial certification fees.
The new pathway is designed to provide increased options and inclusivity for ABMS-certified osteopathic physicians, says AOA CEO Kevin Klauer, DO, EJD. “It’s time to bring our DOs home,” he says. “The AOA of today is not the same as the past.”
With the goal of removing previous barriers to AOA certification for ABMS-certified DOs, the new option eliminates the burden of high-stakes initial certification exams and associated fees. “You’ve already done that. We don’t expect you to do it again,” Dr. Klauer explains. “We want you, not your money.”
The application fee for reciprocal certification is $0 for AOA members and $299 for non-members. To maintain AOA Board Certification, DOs will be required to meet their specialty/subspecialty board’s requirements for Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC). These requirements will vary by specialty/subspecialty board; visit the AOA Board Certification website for more details on OCC requirements.
Extension of ABMS reciprocity holds special significance for Dr. Klauer, who was ineligible for AOA Board Certification in the 1990s due to a processing error that prevented him from participating in the AOA match. As a result, he completed an ACGME training program and was not eligible to sit for osteopathic boards.
Many years later, eligibility for AOA certification was opened to ACGME-trained DOs, but the process involved duplicative fees and exams that were considered onerous by many physicians. “It’s time we not only welcome DOs home, but bring down the barriers,” Dr. Klauer says. “Let’s fix what was broken for years.”
In addition to making AOA certification more accessible, reducing barriers will lead to more open lines of communication within the profession, says AOA President Thomas Ely, DO. “The osteopathic community should and needs to be inclusive, not exclusive,” he says. “We want every DO to be a part of the osteopathic professional community, including AOA board certification. This is a big step in service of that goal.”
New and improved
In recent years, AOA leadership has reimagined AOA board certification to make it more relevant to the practicing physician, says Raymond Depa, DO, chair of the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists.
“As we’ve made improvements to AOA board certification, we have prioritized adding convenience and flexibility so it fits more seamlessly into diplomates’ lives,” he says.
For example, five boards—internal medicine, emergency medicine, anesthesiology, radiology and OB-GYN—recently transitioned away from requiring high-stakes in-person recertification exams to offer a series of less-intense online exams that can be completed from the home or office, Dr. Depa notes. All boards are in the process of planning or implementing similar programs, he says.
To learn more about ABMS reciprocity and submit an application, visit the AOA Board Certification website.