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NBOME mail

February 11, 2021
*Note: this article originally appeared in the COVID-19 section of the website.

PHILADELPHIA, PA—The NBOME Board of Directors held a special session earlier this week and has made the following decisions related to the global pandemic and COMLEX-USA:

1. The COMLEX-USA Level 2-PE is postponed indefinitely and will not resume on April 1, 2021.

2. We are deferring work on a temporary clinical skills testing site in California.

3. For the Class of 2021 (and earlier), we are developing a temporary alternative pathway to meet the eligibility requirements for the COMLEX-USA Level 3 examination.

This new pathway will allow for the verification of the competencies assessed in Level 2-PE without the need to travel to an NBOME National Center for Clinical Skills Testing.

We are working diligently to determine exactly what this temporary alternative pathway will look like for the Class of 2021 (and earlier) including options for those who have not yet taken Level 2-PE and others. We expect to release additional details within the next 4 weeks.

4. For the Class of 2022, we are convening a Special Commission that will review the future of Level 2-PE and determine potential alternative pathways. Detailed information about alternate pathways will be available by April 30, 2021.

5. The Special Commission and its charge will be expanded to consider and identify new ways to evaluate fundamental competencies currently assessed in the Level 2-PE. This will include a full review of the COMLEX-USA program, to ensure it continues to provide a defensible pathway to osteopathic medical practice and licensure. The Special Commission will include members from across the UME-GME-Licensure continuum, including student representatives and public members/patient representatives. This work will occur in two phases:

PHASE 1 will address points number three and four above and will include structured feedback opportunities from all stakeholders, from students to educators to licensing authorities to professional organizations, and public members/patient representatives.

PHASE 2 will focus on long-term solutions to assess competencies for osteopathic medicine in the COMLEX-USA program, with an eye on our collective duty to ensure quality care for the public and our patients.

We have carefully considered all of the feedback we have received from students during this pandemic year and are grateful for the input. While we are sorry for the widespread misinformation that circulates, we understand the extraordinary challenges we have all faced in the global emergency. Enthusiasm regarding the COMLEX-USA and the importance of osteopathically distinctive assessment is a testament to how much we all care about the osteopathic profession, its learners and physicians, and our patients.

We at the NBOME have always been, and continue to be, committed to maintaining the excellence of our profession through high-quality assessment and professional self-regulation. Given the unique circumstances presented by the pandemic, we have the opportunity to continue to evolve COMLEX-USA in a manner that meets the changing practice of osteopathic medicine and its physicians.

Our focus on COMLEX-USA includes input from stakeholders across the osteopathic medical profession to ensure its continued excellence for our patients, and we don’t take these decisions lightly. Decisions made by the NBOME as part of this process and outcomes related to our testing methods continue to be made carefully and with valued input from all of our stakeholders and are not to be meant as commentary about assessment and testing decisions made by other organizations or professions.

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