Board certification for optometry -1 year on

June 1, 2010

At the end of April, the American Board of Optometry launched its new secure Web site, www.americanboardofoptometry.org, which includes an online application to begin the process of becoming an active candidate for board certification.

St. Louis-At the end of April, the American Board of Optometry (ABO) launched its new secure Web site, http://www.americanboardofoptometry.org/, which includes an online application to begin the process of becoming an active candidate for board certification.

Later this summer, the ABO said, the portal will allow active candidates to begin entering information to fulfill the 150-point post-graduate requirements needed to be eligible to take the board certification examination next year.

As we approach the 1-year anniversary of the American Optometric Association's (AOA's) House of Delegates' vote to move forward with board certification and to form the ABO, the issue remains divisive.

Optometrists at the ready

The PPACA does not require doctors to become board certified. The act does, however, address changes to the Physician Quality Reporting Initiative (PQRI). PQRI, a part of the 2006 Tax Relief and Health Care Act, includes an incentive payment for eligible professionals who satisfactorily report data on quality measures for covered professional services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries.

Under section 10327 of the PPACA, eligible professionals can qualify for an additional incentive payment between 2011 and 2014 if they satisfactorily submit data measures through a maintenance of certification (MOC) program.

The bill defines MOC as "a continuous assessment program, such as qualified American Board of Medical Specialties Maintenance of Certification program or an equivalent program (as determined by the secretary), that advances quality and the lifelong learning and self-assessment of board certified specialty physicians by focusing on the competencies of patient care, medical knowledge, practice-based learning, interpersonal and communication skills and professionalism."

Section 10327 also states that an MOC program must include requirements to:

Examination and certification

That's good news to the ABO, which requires a board certification examination as the final step to obtaining initial board certification.