OCC – Certificates of Added Qualifications (CAQ)

Time-limited CAQ certificate holders will be required to enroll and begin participation in OCC in order to maintain their CAQ board certification.  This includes diplomates who may have a non-time-limited primary certification certificate.  Any CAQ certificate issued in 2001 or after is considered time-limited.

Rather than being a single event, certification will be a continuous, lifelong process. AOA certified physicians are already maintaining four of the five components that OCC will consist of (Unrestricted Licensure, Life Long Learning/CME, Cognitive Assessment, and AOA Membership.) The only component in OCC that will require additional effort is Component 4 – Practice Performance Assessment & Improvement. Many physicians are already participating in some sort of practice performance assessment within their department or group, which may qualify to fulfill this component.

Component 1 – Professional Status

Requires that physicians who are board-certified by the American Osteopathic Association (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

AOBR Diplomates are required to meet the AOA CME requirements as they have been required in the past. However, within OCC, more specific types of CME will be required. To view requirements specific to you please click go to Requirements and Timetables. The following requirements MUST be met within the 10-Year OCC Cycle for the CME Component in order to maintain board certification:

  • 400 CME Credits
  • CAQ Certificate Holders – Minimum of 13 of Specialty CME must be in CAQ area
  • 20 SAMs (Self-Assessment Modules)
    • > 4 SAMs must be non-interpretive skills
    • 16 Clinical Content SAMs
    • > 6 SAMs must be in each subspecialty obtained (for CAQ holders)

CME credit hours and SAMs do not necessarily need to be done in the precise year specified; however, the CME requirement per 3-year CME cycle must be completed by the end of each 3-year cycle.

Component 3 – Cognitive Assessment – CAQs

A diplomate will be required to demonstrate through a formalized, secure examination, that he/she has the fundamental diagnostic skills, medical knowledge and clinical judgment to provide quality care. Time-limited diplomates will be required to take and pass the OCC Cognitive Exam prior to the expiration of their CAQ certificate. Diplomates may begin taking the OCC Cognitive Exam up to three years prior to the expiration date of their existing CAQ certificate. The new certificate will be issued upon the date of the expiration of the former CAQ certificate and will be valid for an additional 10 years.

Diplomates participating in OCC who hold non time-limited certification may voluntarily take the cognitive examination at any time. A Diplomat’s original non- time-limited certification will not be revoked by the AOA/AOBR if, at any time, the diplomat should choose to discontinue the OCC process. However, the diplomat will not be given documentation of OCC compliance unless they have successfully participated in the entire OCC process.

Any diplomate whose time-limited certificate has expired may reenter the OCC process and take the cognitive exam at any time, provided the diplomate meets all other OCC requirements. Upon successfully passing the cognitive exam, the diplomate will be issued a time-dated certificate for ten (10) years, dated from the date of passing the examination.

Information regarding the CAQ cognitive examinations may be found here.

Component 4 – Practice Performance Assessment and Improvement (PPA)

Assessments of physician’s practice that:

  • includes an initial assessment of an eligible professional’s practice that is designed to demonstrate the physician’s use of evidence based medicine
  • requires a physician to implement a quality improvement intervention to address a practice weakness identified in the initial assessment & then re-measure to assess performance improvement after intervention

Each diplomate will be required to successfully complete a qualified OCC practice performance assessment every three years or a total of three projects per 10 year cycle using the diplomates own patient data. The goal of the practice performance component is to demonstrate performance improvement in radiological knowledge and skills, including assessment activities of AOA specific core competencies. Each diplomate will be required to demonstrate that they can assess the quality of radiological care they provide compared to peers and national benchmarks and then apply the best evidence or consensus recommendations to improve that radiological care using follow-up assessments. Click for detailed PPA information.

Diplomates must select a project from one of the following categories:

  • Patient Safety
  • Accuracy of Interpretation
  • Practice Guidelines & Technical Standards
  • Referring Physician Surveys
  • Reporting Timeliness

Component 5 – Continuous AOA Membership

Each diplomate will be required to maintain continuous and uninterrupted membership in the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).