Osteopathic continuous certification near ready for early rollout

November 23, 2010

All but one piece of the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOBD) process for osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) stands ready for implementation ahead of the project’s 2013 deadline, AOBD officials say.

Kirksville, Mo. - All but one piece of the American Osteopathic Board of Dermatology (AOBD) process for osteopathic continuous certification (OCC) stands ready for implementation ahead of the project's 2013 deadline, AOBD officials say.

"Our goal is to have it completely running by the end of 2011," says Stephen Purcell, D.O., AOBD chairman.

OCC is taking the place of the AOBD’s former recertification process, which was mandatory for anyone without a lifetime certificate, and was much less comprehensive.

The new program is “pretty much ready to roll," except for a clinical assessment program (CAP), says Lloyd Cleaver, D.O., AOBD secretary. At press time, the board was developing criteria for this program, starting with those for melanoma, then those for non-melanoma skin cancer.

The CAP will allow D.O. dermatologists to extract the required information from their files manually and send it electronically or in hard copy to the AOBD for review. Once the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT) establishes electronic health record (EHR) standards, Dr. Cleaver adds, "We hope the CAP will be able to automatically extract this information from members' files."

By 2013, any physician who holds a time-dated AOBD certificate will be enrolled in OCC in preparation for taking a proctored, closed-book recertification exam, he says.

Currently, there are 365 total board-certified D.O. dermatologists. Of these, 147 hold time-dated certificates, and the remaining 218 hold lifetime certificates.

Because the AOBD's current 10-year certificates debuted in 2003, Dr. Cleaver says that, to date, "Nobody's been required to take a recertification exam." However, he says, several osteopathic dermatologists have taken the exam voluntarily, while others have been required to do so by insurers or state licensing bodies.

"We've had some people with lifetime certificates that have taken it, too," he says.

D.O. dermatologists can start enrolling in the nine-year OCC cycle in 2011, Dr. Cleaver says. As currently proposed, he says, OCC will require 150 CME hours every three years, including at least 25 dermatology Category 1 approved CME credits yearly.

He declined to reveal additional details regarding OCC timelines and costs, which he says must be ready for presentation to the American Osteopathic Association for approval in April.

Overall, Dr. Cleaver says, "We want this to be no more expensive than our previous recertification process, and as minimally labor-intensive as possible."

Regarding D.O. dermatologists' attitudes toward OCC, Dr. Cleaver says, "People don't look forward to additional work and expenses, but the majority of people are fairly positive about it. It allows people to demonstrate that they are competent and very good in what they do.

“Those people that have negative feelings about it have not been vocal," he says.

Disclosures: Drs. Purcell and Cleaver report no relevant financial interests.

For more information:www.aocd.org www.osteopathic.org