CME CME Policies

CME Policies

Lifelong Learning

CME policies & requirements for AOA board-certified physicians

View OCC Component 2 policies for the 2022-24 certification CME cycle.

Physicians certified by the AOA’s specialty certifying boards demonstrate expertise in their specialty through Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC), which provides opportunities for professional development centered on patient care and lifelong learning. The requirements for OCC Component 2: Lifelong Learning/Continuing Medical Education, and the activities that may serve to meet those requirements for the 2022-24 Certification CME Cycle are outlined below.

The  AOA Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) maintains the right to update CME requirements for AOA Board Certification as needed. The BOS reserves the right to evaluate all programs and activities on an individual basis. Physicians are responsible for keeping abreast of the rules and regulations of CME.


2022-24 Certification CME Cycle

Requirements by certification type

For the 2022-24 AOA Board Certification CME cycle, diplomates who hold non-time-limited board certification and do not voluntarily participate in OCC are required to earn 120 total CME credits.

The following requirements apply to all diplomates who hold osteopathic board certification through the AOA and its specialty certifying boards.

Time-limited certification

Physicians who hold a time-limited board certification issued by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) are required to meet the specified CME requirements for the 2022-24 Certification CME cycle as part of Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) Component 2: Lifelong Learning/Continuing Medical Education (CME).

The number of CME credits required is determined by each specialty certifying board. Newly certified diplomates entering mid-cycle will have their CME requirement prorated. Learn more.

Physicians CME Activity Report will outline the total CME requirement, the amount of credits required in Categories 1 and 2, and if applicable, the specialty specific CME requirement. The table below lists the requirements by specialty board. Diplomates who hold time-limited certifications must complete the OCC Component 2: Lifelong Learning/CME requirement as outlined below in addition to all other components of OCC.

Non time-limited certification

Non-time-limited diplomates who choose not to voluntarily participate in OCC will be required to obtain 120  CME credits during the 2022-2024 certification CME cycle regardless of specialty.

The number of credits required in Categories 1 and 2 and, if applicable, the specialty specific CME requirement is detailed in the table below.

Non-time-limited diplomates who choose to voluntarily participate in OCC are required to meet the specified CME credit hour requirement for the 2022-2024 certification CME cycle as part of Component 2: Lifelong Learning/Continuing Medical Education (CME). The number of CME credits required is determined by each specialty certifying board.

A diplomate’s CME Activity Report will outline the total CME requirement, the number of credits required in Categories 1 and 2, and, if applicable, specialty specific CME requirement. The table below lists the requirements by specialty board. Diplomates who hold non-time-limited certifications and are voluntarily participating in OCC must complete the OCC Component 2: Lifelong Learning/CME requirement in addition to all other components of OCC.

Requirements by specialty board

For the 2022-2024 certification CME cycle, all AOA board-certified diplomates are required to meet the CME requirements of their specialty certifying board(s) as listed in the table linked below.

Please note the listed requirements are for the sole purpose of AOA board certification only. It is the responsibility of the individual physician to stay informed of their CME requirements for state licensure, membership in other organizations, etc.

Conjoint subspecialty certifications

Conjoint subspecialty certification holders must abide by the requirements of their primary certifying board. There is no additional CME required to maintain a conjoint subspecialty certification.

CME category & activity descriptions

The AOA assigns CME credit to four categories: 1-A, 1-B, 2-A and 2-B.

Category 1: Typically designates osteopathic CME

Category 2: Typically designates non-osteopathic CME

Category A: Usually designates a live activity

Category B: Typically is not a live activity (with a few exceptions)

View a detailed breakdown of CME activity options for each category linked below. If there is no specific cap noted in the “Rules, Caps, etc.” section, there is no limit to how many credits a physician can earn from that activity during the 2022-24 certification CME cycle.

View activity descriptions

Reporting CME activities

Reporting osteopathic CME

Reporting of osteopathic CME credit to the AOA is the responsibility of the accredited AOA Category 1 sponsor. Category 1 sponsors have up to one year following the completion of an activity and/or conclusion of a program to submit CME credits.

AOA Category 1 credit will not be awarded for activities submitted directly by a physician.

Reporting ACCME or AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

Reporting of CME earned from an ACCME-accredited provider for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ or AAFP CME programs to the AOA is the responsibility of the physician.

A certificate of attendance must be provided to Physician Education & CME at cme@osteopathic.org or the activity may be submitted by using the CME Self-Reporting Tool (login required). The certificate must indicate the total number of hours attended. Transcripts from other institutions (hospitals, CME trackers, etc.) will also be accepted if it contains the total number of hours. Submissions should include the physician’s name and AOA ID number.

 

Non-qualifying activities

The following activities do not qualify for CME credit:

  • Volunteer work
    The AOA applauds volunteerism, but such work does not qualify for CME credit. Missionary service work may qualify for a reduction or waiver of the CME requirement.
  • Medical facility tours
  • Osteopathic state licensing board participation
  • Physician administrative training
  • Observation at medical centers
  • Medical economics courses
  • Component 4 Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement
    Approved Quality Improvement Attestation forms submitted for Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) Component 4 do not qualify for CME credit.

The following activities may qualify for CME credit but the credit is not applicable toward the AOA certification CME requirement:

  • Healthcare committee and departmental meetings
  • Inspections
  • Postgraduate studies
  • Textbook reading

CME proration

Newly board certified physicians or physicians reactivating board certification will have their CME requirement prorated for the current Certification CME cycle.

Initial certification

When a physician first becomes certified, their CME requirement will be prorated for the current certification CME cycle only. Prorations are based on the date of certification.

Reactivated certification

When a physician reactivates an expired/inactive certification, their CME requirement will be prorated based on the amount of time the certification was inactive.

The chart linked below displays proration requirements for both initial and reactivated certifications.

View proration requirements

 

Exemptions & reductions

AOA exemptions or reductions in the number of required credits for certification granted by the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) does not affect individual state CME licensing requirements. Waivers or reductions in CME will not be granted without due cause unless policy advises otherwise.

Below is a list of common situations that may result in a reduction or waiver of the Component 2: Lifelong Learning/CME requirement for OCC. For situations other than those listed in the table linked below, please contact your AOA specialty certifying board.

View request types

If your situation qualifies, please submit a request for a reduction or waiver of the 2022-2024 certification CME requirement. Reduction or waiver requests will not be reviewed if the diplomate has met or exceeded the certification CME requirement for the cycle.

Standardized life support CME

If a physician submits a certificate of completion for a standardized life support course, the amount of CME indicated on the certificate will be recognized by the AOA. In cases where the certificate of completion does not list a specific number of credits, CME will be awarded per the categories listed below.

Diplomates who teach a standardized life support course and submit a certificate or teaching log will earn CME credits on an hour-for-hour basis. In cases where the certificate or teaching log does not contain a specified amount a maximum of 10 CME credits may be awarded per calendar year.

View course list

 


2019-21 CME Cycle

Reported credits for the 2019-21 cycle must have been earned between Jan. 1, 2019 and Dec. 31, 2021. Physicians have until March 31, 2022, to report CME for the 2019-21 cycle.

2019-21 policy changes due to COVID-19

Recognizing the significant burden placed on physician practices by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Executive Committee of the AOA Board of Trustees approved the following policy changes for the 2019-2021 CME cycle.

  • At the end of the 2019-21 CME cycle, up to 15 AOA category 1-B credits will be converted to AOA category 1-A credits on an hour for hour basis. The credit adjustment will appear on CME activity reports approximately two months after the close of the 2019-2021 Certification CME cycle. At that time, reports will be updated to display credit totals with and without the adjustment to preserve accuracy of reporting for non-AOA use, such as verification for state licensure.
  • The maximum number of AOA category 1-B credits that may be earned for committee and hospital work (as described in the 2019-2021 CME Guide for Osteopathic Physicians) was raised from 5 to 10.

AOA category 1 CME sponsors will be exempt from the requirement to provide a needs assessment for COVID-19 related activities.

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