Federal Judge Ends Mandatory AOA Membership Tied to Board Certification

“A federal judge in Camden has granted final approval to an $84 million settlement of an antitrust class action against the American Osteopathic Association,” related to the tying of AOA membership to the ability to maintain specialty certification through Osteopathic Continuous Certification, reported the New Jersey Law Journal on December 4, 2018.

The lawfirm leading the case, Duane Morris, LLC, earlier reported on what is in the settlement:

In addition to agreeing to end its practice of conditioning AOA board certification on purchasing annual membership in the AOA, which was at the center of the lawsuit, the AOA has also agreed to provide a host of other economic benefits to the more than 45,000 class members, such as:

  • for three years reducing its annual dues by $90 and
  • waiving a $90 board certification fee;
  • for two years offering AOA members two free CME courses of up to 12 aggregate credits;
  • contributing not less than $2 million to an osteopathic awareness campaign;
  • eliminating distinctions between online and in-person CME for purposes of AOA membership;
  • lifetime board certification is restored for all those certified prior 1997;
  • committee of independent private practice physicians will be created to represent independent practice considerations to the AOA board; and
  • physicians will not lose membership in the AOA as a result of failing to meet the CME requirement, provided that the physicians meet the CME requirements for the state(s) in which they practice.

Weighed against the uncertainty and expense of protracted litigation, the valuable benefits the AOA has agreed to provide to resolve the claims against it demonstrate that the settlement is in the best interest of the class and sub-classes, as well as the AOA, stated Duane Morris.

https://www.duanemorris.com/pressreleases/osteopathic_physicians_class_action_settlement_0718.html

For a full copy of the settlement agreements, see:
https://www.duanemorris.com/site/static/AOA_joint_motion_for_certification_0718.pdf

For a full history of the suit, see:
https://www.duanemorris.com/site/osteopathclassaction.html

Here is the wording from the motion on the key items: