Below you will find a copy of Article 19 of the ABCMO Bylaws which details the current Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program along with changes effective July 1, 2021.
Click here for a review of factors leading to enhanced programs to ensure Maintenance of Certification (MOC) of physician specialists.
(Current) MOC Program in Effect Until June 30, 2021
Beginning January 1, 2019, each recipient of the Corporation’s certification is required to participate in its Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program – with failure to do so resulting in loss of certification. The MOC program is designed to maintain advanced competence in medical optometry following initial or subsequent re–certification.
MAINTENANCE OF CERTIFICATION:
ABCMO Certified ODs agree to meet all future CME requirements for license renewals by:
1. Meet or exceed state hourly CME requirements for license renewal utilizing COPE approved CME courses recognized by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry as specified by the state licensing board of record.
2. Meet all mandatory types of CME required by the state licensing board of record, and fill all remaining CME hourly requirements by attending only COPE approved CME specifically germane to the practice of medical optometry.
Failure to comply will result in revocation of ABCMO certification as shall loss of licensure for cause other than late payment or late application for license renewal.
In summary, after all mandatory CME hours in specified categories are met, all remaining CME course hours required to meet the minimum CME needed for license renewals shall be fulfilled by attending COPE CME courses having the diagnosis and treatment of medical eye disorders as their subject matter.
Evidence of license renewal and above specified medical optometry CME may be requested at any time by ABCMO utilizing the ARBO OE Tracking Number and related tracking data.
It shall be the responsibility of those ABCMO certified to track, record and submit to ABCMO, using COPE documentations, that they have fully met the conditions of (2) and submit a $45 processing fee to ABCMO annually or $90 biennially depending upon the license renewal process of their state board of optometry.
Section 19.3 Additional MOC requirements.
Hold the current highest level of medical therapeutic licensure available in the state license of record.
Submit the results to ABCMO of a self–query to the National Practitioner Data Bank in the event of any adverse action report.
Adhere to the code of ethics of the profession of optometry as defined by the American Optometric Association.
(Revised) MOC Program in Effect July 1, 2021
Note: A fuller review of the factors leading to programs to ensure Maintenance of Certification (MOC) of board certified physician specialists is found here. Those MOC programs are now required for renewal of certification of medical specialists following completion of their residency training and initial specialty board certifications. Previously, some physician specialty boards issued lifetime certifications but after publication by the Institute of Medicine of “To Err Is Human” in 2000 that documented deaths of hospitalized patients from preventable errors, a movement towards stronger and mandatory MOC programs began for physician specialists. [To Err is Human, Institute of Medicine, National Academy Press, Washington, D. C., ISBN 0-309-06837-1, June 2000.]
Medical optometry is the first optometry specialty to have established accredited postgraduate residency training programs, a written national specialty examination (Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry) administered by the National Board of Examiners in Optometry and a specialty board (ABCMO) issuing certifications accepted and utilized by credentialing committees at Joint Commission accredited medical organizations and a MOC program to maintain certification in this optometry specialty. The process to establish this first board-certified optometry specialty spanned over 40 years following the first medical optometry residency established at a Veterans Administration hospital in 1975. Similar long, extended time periods were also required to establish the infrastructures of most physician, dental, and podiatric specialties.
Revised Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Program
Beginning July 1, 2021, all holders of the Corporation’s certification as specialists in medical optometry become required to participate in this revised Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program herein described and failure to do so can result in loss of certification. This revised MOC program will better ensure competence in medical optometry is retained and updated following initial certification and allow the corporation to maintain a current list of those certified in the specialty of medical optometry that is updated every 1 to 2 years coincident with the each specialist’s renewal of their “state license of record” to practice optometry.
After several years of study by the Corporation of the recent development of medical physician MOC programs and the push-back many of those MOC programs have received, it has concluded its MOC program must be both effective and reasonable in the time and costs required for specialists in medical optometry to maintain their certifications.
Rather than create an additional, separate process, in addition to that required for license renewal, the revised specialist MOC requires the same number of CE hours now needed for renewal of the specialist’s “license of record” be taken from attending COPE accredited CE programs that concentrate on topics germane to medical optometry.
This requires our specialists to attend the same number of annual, or biennial, CE hours required for renewal of their “license of record” and that these required CE hours result from attending COPE accredited CE that is recognized by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry and that these CE courses deal with the diagnosis, treatment and follow up care of medical eye or vision conditions.
(A current list of COPE accredited CE on topics relevant to medical optometry is found in the endnotes.)
To document they have met this requirement, a copy of the specialist’s COPE OE Tracker File now submitted to state licensing boards will be sent to ABCMO after each “license of record” renewal to verify adherence to this revised MOC. [See www.arbo.org for more details.]
Note: The “license of record” is the license on file with the credentialing committee where the specialist in medical optometry is a member of the medical staff or an attending consultant. For private practice, it is the license from the state in which the private practice is located. Since federal medical facilities accept a license from any state or territorial licensing board (and not necessarily a license from the state in which the federal facility is located), the “license of record” need not be from the state where the federal facility is located.
Note: Some state licensing boards have specified and mandatory CE course hours which must be taken that may not have medical optometry as their subject nor be COPE accredited. The specialist must take such courses for “license of record” renewal. But, all remaining “self selected” CE hours required to meet the CE hours required for license renewal must be COPE accredited and deal with medical optometry topics.
Note: Once required hours of any mandatory CE and “self selected” COPE accredited medical optometry CE hours add up to the numbers of CE hours required for “license of record” renewal, the specialist in medical optometry may take any additional CE courses desired whether COPE accredited or not.
Note: Medical optometry specialists are still required to hold the highest level of optometry licensing available from the state issuing their “license of record”.
At the end of each one-year (or two-year) “license of record” renewal period after July 1, 2021, the specialist in medical optometry must submit to ABCMO a copy of their COPE OE Tracker File of CE courses taken and CE hours attended during their most recent “license of record” renewal period, with a fee of $45 (or $90) payable by check to ABCMO. This will enable ABCMO to verify compliance with the revised MOC program and answer requests for Verification of Certification by credentialing committees.
Note: The revised MOC does not require re-passage of the ACMO (Advanced Competence in Medical Optometry) written national examination every 10 years after completion of residency training and initially passing the ACMO examination.
The same number of CE course hours required for renewal of the specialist’s “license of record” must still be met, but by attending COPE accredited CE addressing the diagnosis, care, and treatment of medical eye/vision conditions. After July 1, 2021, a copy of the specialist’s COPE “OE Tracker” showing the CE hours and type of CE courses attended during the license renewal period (1-2 years) is to be sent to the address below with a certification renewal fee payable to ABCMO by check.
ABCMO believes filling “self-selected” CE hours required for state “license of record” renewals with COPE accredited CE course hours relevant to medical optometry will insure the continuing competence of specialists in medical optometry while requiring little or no additional time and cost to the specialist.
It is the belief of the Corporation that those whom it certifies have, by their interest in medical optometry have, in effect already been concentrating their CE towards medical optometry and this revised MOC recognizes this.
Of course, an ABCMO specialist may take other, additional, “self-selected” CE course hours beyond those required for renewal of their state “license of record” as long as their hours of attendance at COPE accredited CE courses relevant to medical optometry during the renewal period are, alone, sufficient for renewal of their “license of record”.
Why COPE Accredited CE?
The Council on Optometric Practitioner Education (COPE) requirements for their accreditation of optometry CE were recently deemed (in 2017) to be “Substantially Equivalent” to those requirements of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) that accredits medical physician CE. COPE, established in 1993, is also recognized by, and a component of, the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry (ARBO) which serves 66 regulatory agencies in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
COPE accredited CE is specified because ABCMO bylaws require it to set standards and requirements for its certification of medical optometry specialists that are appropriate for optometry and congruent with those of specialist boards in medicine, dentistry and podiatry and this has led to ABCMO certification being accepted by credentialing committees at Joint Commission accredited medical facilities. For these reasons the ABCMO Maintenance of Certification program requires COPE accredited CE for meeting “license of record” renewal requirements since COPE CE standards are “substantially equivalent” to those standards of the ACCME. More information about COPE and ARBO is available from Lisa Fennell, ARBO Executive Director, 200 South College Street, Suite 2030, Charlotte, NC 28202 and at 704 970 2710.
Since many ABCMO certified specialists practice at, or attend at medical centers that have CE courses (i.e., Grand Rounds) utilized by medical, dental and podiatry staff the “deemed” status of COPE accredited CE courses can facilitate cooperation and attendance at inter-professional CE programs and Grand Rounds attended by optometry and other medical staff members. That is, CE hours accredited by COPE or those by ACCME can be counted towards meeting ABCMO MOC CE requirements stated before.
Because the great majority of ABCMO certified specialists in medical optometry are also Fellows or Diplomates of the American Academy of Optometry (AAO) and/or members of The Optometric Glaucoma Society, The Optometry Retinal Society or National Association of VA Optometrists that often hold their meetings in conjunction with the AAO annual meeting, ABCMO believes specialists in medical optometry may find it most convenient to meet their “license of record” COPE accredited MOC CE hourly requirements by attending COPE accredited CE courses offered at AAO annual meetings.
New MOC Requirements:
Beginning July 1, 2021
Fill all “self-selected” CE hours required for state “license of record” renewal by attending COPE accredited CE recognized by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry. These CE courses must be specifically germane to the detection, diagnosis, treatment and management of medical conditions of the human visual system. (COPE categories B and C.)*
Retain, compile and submit to ABCMO a copy of attendance records at COPE accredited CE during your most recent license renewal period. Depending on the “license of record”, these COPE OE Tracker reports will cover your most recent one, or two, year period of COPE accredited CE taken for license renewal.
Mail your most recent COPE OE Tracker report of CE taken for renewal of your “license of record” to the address below with a MOC fee of $45 if your license renewal is annually, or $90 if your license renewal is every two years.
ABCMO will monitor your COPE OE Tracker data to maintain and update its list of currently active certified specialists in medical optometry which ABCMO consults to reply to Requests for Verification of Certification from credentialing and privileging committees.
Failure to comply with above can result in revocation of ABCMO certification for cause.
Evidence of the current status of your state “license of record” may be requested at any time by ABCMO for purposes of verification of certification.
Except for any mandatory CE hours required for the “license of record” and/or any CE taken beyond that required for license renewals, all CE taken shall be COPE accredited CE recognized by the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry having diagnosis and treatment of medical eye disorders as their principle subject matter as listed by COPE in course Categories B and C.
Evidence of license renewal and previously taken medical optometry CE may be requested at any time by ABCMO.
Other MOC Requirements to Remember
Always hold the current and highest level of medical therapeutic licensure available in the state issuing your “license of record”.
Submit results to ABCMO of any self-query to the National Practitioner Data Bank or in the event of an adverse action reported to your state “license of record”.
Fully adhere to the code of ethics of the profession of optometry as currently defined by the American Optometric Association.
Many state licensing Boards require certain numbers of hours be taken in specific areas for license renewals. MOC requires that the remaining CE needed to meet license renewal requirements be taken in COPE accredited CE that address medical dysfunctions affecting the human visual system.
The “state license of record” for optometrists practicing in Joint Commission accredited medical facilities is the license on file with the facility’s credentialing and privileging committee. At federal medical facilities this license may be from any state or regional optometry licensing body. For optometrists in private office practice the “state license of record” must be from the state licensing board of the state in which the office practice is located.
Dr. Smith must hold the highest therapeutic optometry license available from State X, the doctor’s “license of record”. State X renews licenses every two years.
Dr. Smith must continue to renew the State X license and submit COPE OE Tracker evidence of having met the MOC requirements for license renewal to ABCMO every two years with an MOC fee of $90 payable by check to ABCMO to remain on the list of those ABCMO certified.
*COPE Categories of accredited CE Courses acceptable for MOC include its Categories B and C. As Revised March, 2014, these include the following types of CE courses.
B. Ocular Disease: Courses in glaucoma, injection skills, laser procedures, peri-operative management of ophthalmic surgery, refractive surgery management, treatment and management of ocular disease (anterior and posterior segment).
C. Related Systemic Disease: Courses in neuro-optometry, oral pharmaceuticals, pharmacology, principles of diagnosis and systemic/ocular disease.
Mail the most recent COPE OE Tracker course attendance and course hours taken with the one-year or two-year MOC fee ($45 or $90) to:
18683 Milton Ave.
Big Rapids, MI 49307