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Clinically Inactive Status Policy

Revised 05/29/18

Diplomates no longer engaged in the active practice of ophthalmology may apply for an abbreviated Maintenance of Certification (MOC) program in order to retain board certification. Diplomates approved for Clinically Inactive Status must complete Parts 1-3 of MOC according to their current 10-year MOC cycle:

  • Part 1: Professional Standing
    Maintain a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada
  • Part 2: Lifelong Learning and Self-Assessment
    Attest to completion of an average of 50 CME credits every 2 years, including 16 credits that qualify as self-assessment. Complete 1 activity that qualifies as patient safety.
  • Part 3: Cognitive Expertise
    Meet the annual passing standard on the Quarterly Questions assessment program 3-5 times, depending on certification expiration date.

Diplomates who complete the requirements above may earn a clinically inactive certificate. The status of "Board Certified -- Clinically Inactive" will also be displayed to patients on the ABO website's Verify a Physician search tool, reported to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), and shared with all individuals or organizations seeking to verify board certification.

About the Policy

The Board defines Clinically Inactive Status as having insufficient patient contact to complete the practice improvement portion of MOC, the Part 4: Improvement in Medical Practice.

Clinically Inactive Status is designed to support diplomates who are: 

  • Retired from medical practice
  • Prevented from clinical practice due to permanent illness or injury
  • Employed in academic, administrative, research, or other non-clinical capacities

Clinically Inactive Status is not available to diplomates who have voluntarily or involuntarily suspended practice with the intention to return at a later date. This includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Temporary leaves of absence
  • Temporary interruption of current practice for illness or disability

Diplomates who practice ophthalmology but are unable to complete the Improvement in Medical Practice portion of MOC should contact the Board for further guidance. Every effort will be made by the Board to assist active diplomates in completing the Part 4 requirement.

Applying for Clinically Inactive Status

Diplomates who wish to apply for Clinically Inactive Status should download the Clinically Inactive Status Request Form and email the completed document to Requests must include the reason for clinical inactivity, an attestation to Clinically Inactive Status, and a statement indicating the desire to continue to maintain Board Certification. Requests will be evaluated by the Board and determinations made on an individual basis.