The American Board of Medical Specialties Seeks Comments on Draft Standards for Continuing Certification

Submitted on Fri, 05/14/2021 - 09:19

The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) “Draft Standards for Continuing Certification – Call for Comments”  is open through Thursday, July 8, 2021 @ 11:59pm CST. The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) encourages all Diplomates to participate. The new Draft Standards reflect foundational changes to the manner in which ABMS and its Member Boards deliver on their mission, bringing value to both the profession and the public at large. Coming out of the work for the Vision Commission, these proposed new standards for all certifying boards were developed after more than a year of deliberation; ABFM was pleased to have broad representation working within the task forces that led to their development.

Review and Comment Now

In support of these recommendations, ABFM has already taken action to implement many of the changes embodied in the Vision Commission, with improvements that emphasize increasing relevance, reducing burden, and integrating activities in ways that enhance the value of Family Medicine Continuous Certification; these include:

  • Introducing a 3-year pilot in 2019 to offer Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment (FMCLA) as an alternative to the one-day exams. With over 70% of Diplomates in the 2019-2021 cohorts now participating, the feedback has been very positive. We are excited to announce that ABMS has just approved FMCLA as a permanent option for all ABFM Diplomates
  • In response to requests for Performance Improvement (PI) options to cover a wider spectrum of practice types and scope, ABFM added 16 new PI activities that will enhance relevance to a larger number of Diplomates. Additionally, the new Self-Directed PI activity provides the flexibility to choose any area of desired improvement, as well as to simply report on PI activities already occurring in Diplomates’ practices. The recent addition of COVID-19 PI and Health Equity PI activities have grounded performance improvement in contemporary public health issues.
  • We have reviewed and revised all of our Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) activities in 2020-2021, with substantial updates of the items, critiques, and references, conversion of all items to single best answer, and improvements in the KSA platform.
  • Finally, our Board of Directors Professionalism Committee has spent the last year revising the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct, to provide greater clarity about ABFM  expectations for professionalism and adding new special circumstances for the Committee to consider as they balance their commitment to both Diplomates and the public.

Feedback from ABFM Diplomates is vital to inform the final stages of this work. The Draft Standards Call for Comments is just that – a draft – not the final version. Substantial feedback has been sought at multiple steps along the way, but now is the time for a thoughtful review by board-certified family physicians. ABMS has engaged an external party to ensure that the “Call for Comments” review process is unbiased, objective, and thoughtful. All comments will be reviewed and considered to ensure the final draft of the Standards presented to the ABMS Board of Directors offers a balanced, consistent, and understandable set of criteria with specialty-specific variances where appropriate. ABFM encourages Diplomates to provide meaningful feedback that will guide and inform the development of the final Draft Standards. The voice of all board-certified family physicians is important, and it will matter to this process.