Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC)

Osteopathic Continuous Certification

Certified physicians are committed to life-long learning, higher standards and to practicing the highest quality patient care. The health care system in the United States is evolving, and the certification/re-certification examination model is no longer the competitive standard, or the standard demanded by the public. With the advent of more rigorous quality models, the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and its entire associated specialty certifying boards, under the direction of the Bureau of Osteopathic Specialists (BOS) has developed Osteopathic Continuous Certification (OCC) to help meet and exceed industry and regulatory requirements. The BOS has mandated that the AOBD implement OCC for Dermatology by January 1, 2013. Diplomates holding a time-dated certification will be required to participate in all components of OCC to maintain certification beginning January 1, 2013. Diplomates holding a non-time-dated (formerly referred to as lifetime) certification, will not be required to participate in OCC at this time. However, they are strongly encouraged to participate in OCC, particularly as more states begin to require an ongoing certification process to maintain licensure. The AOBD uses a 10 year OCC complete cycle, with 3 year CME cycles. Non-compliance with OCC may lead to a loss of board certification. The only change to the current osteopathic recertification process is the addition of a Practice Performance Assessment.

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

OCC Philosophy

The AOBD recognizes the following:

  1. A continuous quality improvement process in patient care promotes the identification of opportunities to improve patient care, the development of methods to address identified quality gaps in patient care, and the implementation of plans to improve and re-measure patient care.
  2. Augmenting the certification process with a continuous quality improvement process provides physicians with the opportunity to evaluate and improve their knowledge base, facilitating the incorporation of evidence-based medicine into their practices.
  3. There is a growing expectation by public governmental agencies, licensure bodies, health plans and employers for an Osteopathic continuous certification process.
  4. Osteopathic continuous certification will ultimately provide better patient care and a consistent method for the evaluation of osteopathic dermatology care nationally.

Five Components of OCC

  • Component 1 – Active Licensure: Requires that physicians who are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) hold a valid, active 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 continuing medical education (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.There are two ways to meet this assignment with the updated OCC rules from the AOA.1.  You may login to your OCAT account if you have already paid and created one and do 1 PPA (4 modules)


    2.  You may do this:

    Here is the link – https://physicianportal.osteopathic.org/PPA (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.. It’s really simple.  The individual would just login with their AOA username and password and they would complete the form.  This form is attesting to a quality improvement project.  10% are audited.

  • 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.


  • Click here to register for the OCC application process.
  • Registration fees
    • For AOCD members, the registration fee is $300 per three year cycle.
    • For AOCD non-members, the registration fee is $900 per three year cycle.
    • Newly board certified diplomates registering by February 15 after their exams receive a discount. The payment must be postmarked by February 15 with payment of $150 to receive this discount.


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