CAQ Pilot Program Update

November 28, 2022
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Earlier this year, ABO announced a pilot program for Certificates of Added Qualification (CAQ), available in Glaucoma and Cornea/Contact Lenses. Earning a CAQ will allow board-certified optometrists to achieve recognition for their experience, skills, and knowledge in a focused clinical area. A CAQ reflects that optometrists are first grounded in the training and knowledge of primary eye care, which is enhanced but not replaced through specialized clinical practice.

The CAQ committee met one final time at Academy in San Diego last month to finalize requirements for both the application process and the MOC program. The application is expected to be available in May 2023 and will be based on a flexible points system that recognizes diverse pathways for establishing specialty expertise, including residency training, other specialized clinical training, patient care experience, research, teaching, and membership and/or fellowship in specialty societies and organizations. Once the point requirement has been met, applicants will take a low-stakes, computer-based, 25 question assessment in their chosen area, which will be available beginning in August 2023. Successfully passing the assessment will earn Diplomates a CAQ and they will begin a new MOC cycle the following year in their chosen area.

For Diplomates earning a CAQ, the MOC process will look slightly different. In addition to meeting the requirements of 100 hours of CE and 7 CAP assessments, CAQ holders will also need to:

  • Accumulate a certain number of Quality Care points in their chosen area through activities like CE, specialty area patient encounters, lecturing, chart review, and other activities. If applicable, activities may count for both Quality Care Points and the 100 point CE requirement. For example, if a Diplomate with a CAQ in Glaucoma takes a 2-hour CE course on a glaucoma topic, it may be counted toward both the 100 point CE requirement and the Quality Care Point requirement.
  • Pass a specialty CAP assessment in the 4th year of each MOC cycle. This CAP assessment will replace one of the standard CAP assessments of each MOC cycle. For example, a Diplomate with a Glaucoma CAQ will need to pass 6 standard CAP assessments and the Glaucoma specialty CAP assessment to meet the 7 CAP assessments required for each MOC cycle.

Diplomates who fail to complete CAQ requirements by the end of year 4 in an MOC cycle, but have met standard MOC requirements, will lose the CAQ credential but will maintain their board certification and be enrolled in the standard MOC path the following year.

ABO is excited to offer this specialty credential program to our Diplomates. Our intention is to create a meaningful credential that provides value when communicating with both patients and colleagues. As we get closer to the launch date in May, program details will be added to the ABO website, including information on the application process, fees for earning a CAQ, point requirements, specialty assessment content outlines, and MOC requirements. For questions on the new CAQ pilot program, or to serve on a specialty assessment committee, please contact us at info@abopt.org.

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