Clinical Status Self-Designation
Since the introduction of Maintenance of Certification in 2003, there have been four components approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member boards including Professionalism, Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning, Cognitive Expertise, and Performance Improvement. There have always been physicians who work in roles that do not include direct patient care. Limited options have been available for these Diplomates to meet the performance in practice component that are comparable to a performance in practice activity.
In 2018, the ABFM began allowing physicians to self-designate whether they are clinically active or clinically inactive. If you are clinically active, you will be able to meet the performance improvement requirement by utilizing the many existing options described in the Performance Improvement Activity section of this website. If you are clinically inactive, you are now exempt from meeting performance improvement requirements. You will still need to complete 50-points to meet your stage requirements, which you can do with additional self-assessment activities. This designation does not prohibit you from choosing a performance in practice activity, but it is no longer required if you are clinically inactive.
You can indicate your clinical status online in your Physician Portfolio. Clinically active and clinically inactive status will be visible in the Find a Physician and Physician Verification sections of the ABFM website to let the public and credentialing entities know whether you are currently caring for patients.
If you have a career change, you can always update your clinical status online in the Physician Portfolio. It is not necessary to update your clinical status for a vacation or other short-term leave of absence. A change from clinically inactive back to clinically active necessitates subsequent completion of a Performance Improvement activity to meet your stage requirements and maintain your clinically active status.
If you are retired from practice you can self-designate this status inside your Physician Portfolio. This designation does not change your board certification status. However, it will more accurately reflect your status as a family physician on the ABFM website in the Find a Physician directory and the ABMS physician directory, informing the public and credentialing entities of your retired status. If you are currently certified and self-designate as retired, your certification status will remain current until you are no longer meeting certification requirements. You may choose to maintain your certification for as long as your wish after retirement, as a number of Diplomates do, provided that you continue to meet each of the requirements for Family Medicine Certification.
A significant number of Diplomates who continue to participate in Family Medicine Certification well into their 70s, 80s and 90s even if they are no longer practicing. If you are in this category of Diplomates, ABFM wants to recognize your dedication and commitment to our specialty by offering a 50% discount on your Family Medicine Certification fees. If you are age 70 or over, and are maintaining your certificate, this payment option will be appropriately reflected in your Physician Portfolio.