Initial Certification / Residency

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    Certification MC-FP Exam

    Candidates seeking certification must meet the eligibility criteria specified by the American Board of Family Medicine. All primary exams administered by the ABFM are referred to as the Maintenance of Certification (MC-FP) Exam regardless of whether a physician is certifying for the first time or recertifying. The examination for residents seeking initial certification is administered in April and November.

    For those physicians who started family medicine residency training prior to June 1, 2012, the following must be obtained to become certificated:

    1. Successful performance on the ABFM MC-FP Examination
    2. The Program Director verifies that the resident has successfully met all of the ACGME program requirements
    3. The candidate obtains a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the US or Canada

    The ABFM requires residents who entered family medicine residency training on or after June 1, 2012 (including those who received advanced placement credit for prior training in another specialty, including osteopathic training) to complete the Resident MC-FP Entry Process. In order to become certified by the ABFM, the following requirements must be met:

    • Completion of 50 MC-FP points which includes:
      • Minimum of one (1) Self-Assessment Module (SAM)-15 points each
      • Minimum of one (1) Part IV Performance in Practice activity with data from a patient population-20 points each
      • Additional approved Part II or Part IV activities to reach a minimum of 50 points.
    • Application and full examination fee for the MC-FP examination
    • Attainment of a full, valid, unrestricted and permanent medical license and compliance with the Guidelines on Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct
    • Successful completion of family medicine residency training and verification by the program
    • Successful completion of the MC-FP examination

    In order to satisfy the minimum requirement of one Self-Assessment Module (Part II) module, residents MUST complete one of the Part II activities listed below. SAM topics are:

    • Asthma SAM
    • Care of the Vulnerable Elderly SAM
    • Cerebrovascular Disease SAM
    • Childhood Illness SAM
    • Coronary Artery Disease SAM
    • Depression SAM
    • Diabetes SAM
    • Health Behavior SAM
    • Heart Failure SAM
    • Hospital Medicine SAM
    • Hypertension SAM
    • Maternity Care SAM
    • Mental Health in the Community SAM
    • Pain Management SAM
    • Preventive Care SAM
    • Well Child Care SAM

    In order to satisfy the minimum requirement of one Performance in Practice (Part IV) module, residents MUST complete one Part IV activity using data from a patient population. Examples of Part IV modules offered by the ABFM include:

    • Asthma PPM
    • Comprehensive PPM
    • Coronary Disease PPM
    • Depression PPM
    • Diabetes PPM
    • Hand Hygiene PPM
    • Heart Failure PPM
    • Hypertension PPM
    • AAFP Metric
    • Self-Directed Practice Improvement Module (PIM)
    • Click here to view a list of external approved alternate MC-FP Part IV activities.

    There are no fees charged by the ABFM for completing ABFM developed Part II and Part IV modules during the Resident MC-FP Entry process. However, residents who choose to complete approved alternate MC-FP Part IV activities may be required to pay a fee to the external provider of that activity, if applicable.

    Residents may complete one of the alternative modules listed below to count toward the overall 50 point requirement. However, these activities do not count toward the minimum required Part II activity and Part IV activity with patient population data.

    Part II

    • Patient Centered Medical Home (10 points)

    Part IV

    • Cultural Competency MIMM (15 points)
    • Hand Hygiene PPM (20 points)
    • Information Management MIMM (20 points)

    When applying for the certification examination, a resident may begin the application process and submit payment for the examination without having all the MC-FP Part II and Part IV requirements completed. In order to avoid late application filing fees, it is recommended that physicians start the application early. However, in order to be approved to take the examination and select a test center date and location, all 50 MC-FP points and the minimum Part II and Part IV requirements must be complete.

    Residents will be able to complete the above requirements for the Resident MC-FP Entry process during their residency training years and up to three calendar years after completion of training. If a resident does not fulfill the requirements within the three calendar years following training completion, he/she will have to go through the ABFM MC-FP Entry process which includes the above requirements plus CME and process fees to gain eligibility to sit for the certification examination. Any activities started or completed during the Resident MC-FP Entry process will not count toward the ABFM MC-FP Entry process.

    Eligibility Requirements for Initial Certification
    All candidates for the American Board of Family Medicine MC-FP Examination for initial certification must have satisfactorily completed three years of training (a full 36 calendar months with 12 months in each of the G-1, G-2, and G-3 years) in a Family Medicine residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) subsequent to receipt of the M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited institution and, when applicable, a Fifth Pathway Year, or receipt of a Standard Certificate from the Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG), or compliance with other ACGME requirements for entry into graduate medical training in the United States. If a physician does not meet the eligibility requirements of the ACGME for residency training in Family Medicine, his/her training will not be recognized by the Board.

    Candidates who obtained their M.D. degree from medical schools in the United States or Canada must have attended a school accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education or the Committee for Accreditation of Canadian Medical Schools. Candidates who obtained a D.O. degree must have graduated from a college of osteopathic medicine accredited by the American Osteopathic Association.

    All applicants for the MC-FP Examination are subject to the approval of the Board, and the final decision regarding any application rests solely with the ABFM. No candidate will be allowed to take the examination until all fees are paid and all requirements have been satisfactorily met.

    Satisfactory Completion of Residency
    The Board prefers all three years of postgraduate training to be in the same ACGME-accredited Family Medicine program; however, other training may be considered as equivalent (e.g., Flexible/Transitional Year, AOA Osteopathic Internship, etc.). In these cases the American Board of Family Medicine requires residency programs to notify the ABFM of residents who are entering training with Advanced Placement credit via the Resident Training Management (RTM) System. If the Program Director fails to comply, the Board will determine the amount of transfer credit at the time of its discovery of the transfer. Consequently, the resident may receive less credit toward certification than anticipated and may be required to extend the duration of training.

    The last two years of Family Medicine residency training must be completed in the same accredited program. Transfers after the beginning of the G-2 year are approved only in extraordinary circumstances.

    All candidates' education and training experiences are subject to review and approval by the ABFM.

    Deadline for Completion of Training—Residents who are expected to complete training by June 30 are automatically provided the application link for the April examination. Residents who are expected to complete training between July 1 and October 31 may be declared eligible to apply for the April examination based on a recommendation from their residency program director. Residents who are expected to complete after October 31 and before December 31 will be permitted to apply for the November exam.

    Final Verification—Verification of satisfactory completion of residency training is submitted through the Resident Training Management (RTM) system by the Family Medicine Residency Program Director. Program Directors may access the RTM system up to 15 days before the anticipated completion date of the resident to verify satisfactory completion of residency training. Candidates for the Certification Examination will not receive certification until the Program Director has verified this information (pending all other certification requirements have been met). The effective date of certification will be the date in which the physician has met all certification requirements.

    Certification will be awarded when all of the criteria are met:

    1. Successful performance on the ABFM MC-FP Examination
    2. The Program Director verifies that the resident has successfully met all of the ACGME program requirements
    3. The candidate obtains a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the US or Canada

    Continuing Medical Education
    Candidates who apply for the Certification Examination within three years of completion of an ACGME-accredited Family Medicine Residency are not required to document any continuing medical education. Candidates who apply after the three-year period will be required to complete the Entry Process, which requires 150 hours of acceptable CME in the last 3 years. Additional information regarding the Entry Process is located below.

    Licensure Requirements
    To obtain and maintain certification, all candidates and Diplomates must hold a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada and be in continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct.

    The ABFM will monitor the issue/renewal and expiration dates of license information entered through the Physician Portfolio and will issue email reminders of upcoming expirations. Please note that the ABFM does not currently receive licensure data, other than Disciplinary Action Reports, directly from any other source than the Diplomate. Consequently, it is your responsibility to maintain current license information with the ABFM. Failure to maintain an active and unrestricted license and/or the failure to maintain that information in your physician portfolio with the ABFM will result in the loss of your certification status.

    Please note: Candidates may begin an application and sit for the examination while in the process of securing a permanent medical license; however, in order to gain certification a permanent license must be obtained and the candidate must be compliant with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct (presuming all other certification requirements have been met).

    Permanent license information must be submitted through the Physician Portfolio on the ABFM website. The effective date of certification will be the date on which the candidate meets all certification requirements.

    Institutional, temporary, and training medical licenses are not acceptable and should not be entered in the Physician Portfolio. If a candidate uses an institutional, temporary, or training medical license, or enters an inaccurate date of initial licensure or renewal, in order to complete the requirements for certification and the ABFM determines that the information does not match the records from the licensing state or if the license does not meet the Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct, the certification will be invalidated. The candidate will be notified subsequent to this action. Falsification of any information entered in the application and/or the Physician Portfolio is a serious violation of ABFM policies and can result in withdrawal of certification for an extended period of time.

    When updating or adding a new license record, applicants are required to attest that the license is current, valid, unrestricted, and permanent. If the medical license does not meet the Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct, the candidate must contact the ABFM License Coordinator.

    For any candidate who sits for the November examination and does not successfully meet the licensure requirement by June 30 of the following year, the examination will be invalidated with no refund of the examination fee. The candidate will be responsible for the full examination fee for any subsequent examination.

    It is the responsibility of the physician to inform the ABFM in writing, by letter, email, or notification through the medical license page in the application or the Physician Portfolio, immediately following any action by a licensing authority. Should a physician be uncertain about whether or not they are meeting the Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct, a written inquiry should be made to the Board immediately.

    Any candidate sitting for an examination while under an action by a licensing authority that places him/her in violation of the Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct will have their examination invalidated and the examination fee will be forfeited. Eligibility for examination will not be reinstated until the physician is in full compliance with the Guidelines. If any action by a licensing authority is taken after this application is filed, but prior to the examination, it is still the responsibility of the applicant to report the action to the ABFM prior to examination for review. If a candidate is appealing a decision relative to their certification status to the Credentials Committee, they are permitted to sit for the examination with the understanding that if the appeal is unsuccessful, their examination will be invalidated and the examination fee will be forfeited.

    MC-FP Entry Process
    Any physician who does not successfully pass the MC-FP examination within three calendar years following the year in which residency training is completed will be required to satisfy the MC-FP Entry Process in order to be eligible for the exam and gain certification status.

    The MC-FP Entry Process includes:

    • Completion of fifty (50) MC-FP points including at least one SAM and one approved Part IV activity
    • Completion of one hundred fifty (150) credits of acceptable continuing medical education
    • Three (3) MC-FP Process Payments
    • Submission of an application for the examination with full payment of the examination fee

     

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