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 include access to:
Quarterly Questions: The longitudinal assessment program known as Quarterly Questions is replacing the DOCK Examination for MOC. Participants may complete the activity as often as once per year and claim 7.5 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
Improvement in Medical Practice: Improvement in Medical Practice activities are designed to encourage ongoing assessment and improvement of patient care in ophthalmology. Participating in one of the available options encourages diplomates to demonstrate their use of evidence and best practices compared to peers and benchmarks.
- A Self-Directed Project: The ABO encourages diplomates to tailor their 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 or use their AAO IRIS Registry data to complete a project.
- 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.
Certificates: Two ABO certificates are provided to each diplomate; extra copies may be ordered at $30 per certificate.
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 email@example.com 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 118 CME credits for completion of ABO activities. With the average cost of a CME credit being about $50 per hour, this makes the ABO's 118 credits worth $5,900—a return nearly three times greater than the investment in 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.