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Clinically Inactive Status Policy

Revised 07/01/2020

The Board is committed to supporting diplomates in meeting Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements. The Board recognizes that some Board Certified physicians leave the practice of ophthalmology, and in some cases these diplomates wish to retain, and are eligible to retain, their Board Certification.

Diplomates who have become clinically inactive and are therefore unable to complete the Part 4: Practice Performance Assessment requirement of MOC may continue to remain certified by completing Parts 1-3 of MOC, including three (3) Quarterly Question Patient Safety Articles, during the required timeframes of their MOC cycle. Diplomates who are approved for this designation will become “Board Certified—Clinically Inactive.” This designation will be printed on the diplomate’s certificate, publicly reported to the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) and will be noted as such within the Board’s online Verify a Physician search results.

The Board defines Clinically Inactive Status as having insufficient patient contact to be able to complete the Part 4: Practice Performance Assessment requirement of MOC. Clinically Inactive Status is available to diplomates who wish to maintain Board Certification, but do not intend to practice clinical ophthalmology in any manner. Clinically Inactive Status is not available to diplomates who voluntarily or involuntarily suspend their clinical practice with the intention to return to clinical practice at a later date.

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 applicants who wish to maintain their time‐limited ABO certificate will be required to complete all other requirements for MOC, including Part 1 (Professional Standing), Part 2 (Lifelong Learning and Self‐Assessment, Part 3 (Cognitive Expertise),  including three (3) Quarterly Question Patient Safety Articles, in the same manner and within the same timeframe as required for clinically active diplomates.

Diplomates who wish to apply for Clinically Inactive Status should download the Clinically Inactive Status Request Form and email the completed document to moc@abop.org. 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. It is the responsibility of the diplomate to provide sufficient information for a determination to be made. The diplomate will be apprised of the outcome of the review.

Clinically Inactive Status does not apply to diplomates who practice ophthalmology but are unable to complete the Part 4: Practice Performance Assessment requirement of MOC for reasons including, but not limited to, leaves of absence, or temporary interruptions in practice due to illness or disability. Diplomates who practice ophthalmology, but are unable to complete the Part 4: Practice Performance Assessment requirement of MOC, should contact the Board for guidance as soon as they become aware of the possibility of their inability to complete the Part 4 requirement within the timeframe established by the Board.

Clinically Inactive Status is determined by the Board on a case‐by‐case basis. Prior to considering each situation, the Board will assist diplomates in completing the MOC Part 4 component within the required timeframe. In the event that a diplomate designated Board Certified—Clinically Inactive returns to clinical practice in any capacity, the diplomate must immediately report this to the Board in writing. Requests to modify a diplomate’s Clinically Inactive Status will be evaluated by the Board and determinations made on an individual basis. The diplomate will be apprised of the outcome of the review.