American Osteopathic Association

Advancing the distinctive philosophy and practice of osteopathic medicine

Osteopathic Continuous Certification

Rather than being a single event, certification should be a continuous, lifelong process. osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) ensures that board-certified DOs maintain currency and demonstrate competency in their specialty area. The only change to the current osteopathic recertification process is the addition of a Practice Performance Assessment.

Each specialty certifying board developed OCC requirements implemented as of Jan. 1, 2013. If you hold a time-limited certificate, you are required to participate in the five components of the OCC process in order to maintain your osteopathic board certification.

Five Components of OCC

  • COMPONENT 1 - Unrestricted Licensure: 
    Requires that physicians who are board-certified by the AOA hold a valid, unrestricted license to practice medicine in one of the 50 states. In addition, these physicians are required to adhere to the AOA’s Code of Ethics.

  • COMPONENT 2 - Lifelong Learning/Continuing Medical Education:
    Consistent with your current commitment to lifelong learning, this component requires that all recertifying physicians fulfill a minimum of 120 hours of CME credit during each three-year CME cycle — though some certifying boards have higher requirements. Of these 120+ CME credit hours, a minimum of 50 credit hours must be in the specialty area of certification. Self-assessment activities will be designated by each of the specialty certifying boards.

  • COMPONENT 3 - Cognitive Assessment:
    Requires provision of one (or more) psychometrically valid and proctored examinations that assess a physician’s specialty medical knowledge, as well as core competencies in the provision of health care.

  • COMPONENT 4 - Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement:
    Requires that you engage in continuous quality improvement through comparison of personal practice performance measured against national standards for your medical specialty.

  • COMPONENT 5 - Continuous AOA Membership:
    Membership in good standing through the AOA serves to establish your foundation of commitment to lifelong learning through basic CME requirements. In addition, certified members participate in relevant specialty-specific educational activities. Membership also demonstrates your dedication to the ethical practice of osteopathic medicine through adherence to the AOA's Code of Ethics.

CMS Maintenance of Certification Program (MOCP) Incentive

All Specialty Certifying Boards operating under the jurisdiction of the AOA have been qualified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the 2014 PQRS MOC Program Incentive. This will allow those diplomates who qualify to apply for an additional 0.5% incentive payment for 2014 submitted Medicare/Medicaid claims. Please be aware that CMS requires that you be registered for the PQRS, meet the PQRS reporting requirements, be AOA board certified, and be participating in OCC in order to qualify for this incentive.

The MOC incentive program requires physicians "to perform activities more frequently than is required" for OCC. Learn more.


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