MOC Fees Policy
The American Board of Ophthalmology establishes recertification fees annually based on contract agreements with testing vendors and the overall cost of administering the Maintenance of Certification (MOC) process. Fees cover the 10-year cost of recertification for ABO-administered activities along with two printed certificates suitable for framing.
The ABO aims to keep MOC fees low, and has not increased fees in more than four years. Diplomates in active duty United States military service may request a 50% refund on MOC fees.
Fees paid to the American Board of Ophthalmology are not tax deductible as charitable contributions; however, they may be tax deductible under other provisions of the Internal Revenue Code.
Maintaining certification in ophthalmology costs each diplomate $200 per year or $2,000 for each 10-year period. These fees enable access to:
Three Periodic Ophthalmic Review Tests (PORTs): PORTs are 50-item, self-review modules available online, on-demand. PORTs are available in core ophthalmic knowledge (knowledge considered fundamental to the practice of ophthalmology) and 10 different practice focus areas. Effective April 1, 2015, each PORT module is worth 2 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits.
One Patient Safety Module: Participation in a patient safety activity is a requirement for all diplomates certified or recertified as of 2012 (MOC Track 2). The ABO has developed a Patient Safety Module which can be completed online in 2-3 hours, and is worth 3 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits. The ABO Patient Safety Module is designed to help diplomates evaluate their quality improvement knowledge, learn valuable communication strategies, and discover new team-based approaches to patient care.
The Demonstration of Cognitive Knowledge (DOCK) Examination: Diplomates must successfully pass the Demonstration of Ophthalmic Cognitive Knowledge (DOCK) examination once during their 10-year MOC cycle in order to complete MOC Part 3. The DOCK examination tests fundamental cognitive knowledge in ophthalmology as well as current and clinically valid practice-related knowledge. The exam is based on the MOC Content Outline, a curriculum of clinically relevant ophthalmic knowledge developed by the Board. The DOCK is administered by appointment at Prometric Test Centers nationwide every September.
Improvement in Medical Practice Pathways: ABO MOC Part 4 is designed to engage diplomates in the ongoing assessment and improvement of patient care in ophthalmology. Participating in one of three available Part 4 options encourages diplomates to demonstrate their use of evidence and best practices compared to peers and benchmarks.
- A Self-Directed Quality Improvement Project: The ABO encourages diplomates to tailor their Part 4 experience to the topic(s) most relevant to their practice. Diplomates are permitted to develop their own individual or group-based clinical or non-clinical projects rather than selecting from an existing PIM.
- The Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program: Institution-based quality improvement projects may be submitted by approved Portfolio Sponsors through the Multi-Specialty Portfolio Program. The Portfolio Program promotes organizational effectiveness and efficiency through team-based quality improvement initiatives that are directly related to the physicians' practice and influences the patient care delivered. This program promotes improvement within a physician's home institution and patient population.
- Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs): Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs) are self-directed online activities that require practicing ophthalmologists to review 30 patient records associated with a diagnosis or diagnoses that they wish to improve upon. PIMs assist ophthalmologists with the evaluation of their practice standards; identify areas for improvement through self-assessment and promote the reduction of gaps in quality of care through improved patient outcomes. Diplomates can claim up to 20 AMA PRA Category 1 CME Credits per PIM, up to two times in total (40 CME).
(Optional) Patient Experience of Care Survey: Access to the Patient Experience of Care Survey is available to all diplomates, although it is not a required MOC activity. The Patient Experience of Care Survey is a practice assessment tool consisting of 15 questions (5 demographic and 10 specifically designed to assess a physician's communication style during the patient/doctor encounter.) The survey provides patients with easy-to-follow directions along with the ability to submit their responses via paper, phone IVR, or web-based technologies.
- Extra Periodic Ophthalmic Review Tests (PORTs): Diplomates have the option to purchase additional practice modules at a cost of $100 per module.
- Certificates: Two ABO certificates are provided to each diplomate; extra copies may be ordered at $30 per certificate.
- Late Registration for the DOCK Exam: Diplomates are assessed a $300 late fee for registering for the DOCK Exam between June 2 to August 1. This fee helps the ABO recoup late fees assessed by the test vendor.
Active Duty Military Fee Reimbursement
Effective 2015, active duty United States Military service members will be refunded 50% of all paid certification and Maintenance of Certification fees remitted in 2015 and forward. To claim reimbursement, Candidates/Diplomates should submit the standard registration or annual fee, and then submit a copy of their active duty paperwork to firstname.lastname@example.org with a request for a refund. The ABO will issue a check or credit card refund within 10 business days.
MOC Cost vs. Value
The monetary value of the ABO MOC process is greater than its cost. The opportunities for CME credit alone exceed in value the cost of MOC participation. For example, a diplomate may claim up to 49 CME credits for completion of two Practice Improvement Modules (PIMs), the Patient Safety Module (PSM), and the Periodic Ophthalmic Review Tests (PORTs). With the average cost of a CME credit being about $50 per hour, this makes ABO's 49 free credits worth $2,450—or nearly $500 more valuable than the total cost of recertification.
Additionally, the ABO provides diplomates with easy-to-use tools to share their Board Certification information with their patients:
- Personalized MOC Participation Web Badge: All diplomates participating in MOC can download a custom web badge for their practice websites or social media profiles. Each badge links directly to the ABO verification page for that diplomate's certification status.
- Public Search Profile Page: The search information provided through the Verify a Physician search tool details the American Board of Ophthalmology certification history for each ophthalmologist. Diplomates have the option to create a detailed diplomate information page for patients to view, which includes information about training, practice location, and office contact information.
Download the ABO MOC Fee Policy.