The American Board of Family Medicine honors the exceptional commitment that family physicians have made to providing high quality care for their patients and their communities during the COVID-19 pandemic. We recognize that these continue to be challenging times, and we want to allow those who have been impacted by the recent Delta surge to focus on what is most important: your patients and your families. As we have monitored the clinical needs necessitated by the ongoing pandemic, we are committed to providing additional time for you to complete your certification stage activities. We will also continue to support residents and residency programs with flexibility, as needed, to allow 2022 graduates to meet their training requirements on time. More information about these changes is outlined below.
CHANGES TO CERTIFICATION DEADLINES:
All Diplomates with a three-year stage ending at the end of 2020 or 2021 will have an additional six months to complete all certification activities including stage and exam requirements. The new deadline to complete all stage requirements is June 30, 2022.
This six-month extension is in addition to the earlier COVID extensions provided by ABFM in 2020. Please see below for our full list of extensions and updates as they relate to 2021 and 2022 certification requirements. Don’t forget to log in to your MyABFM Portfolio to learn more about your personal certification requirements.
- For Diplomates with Certification Stage Ending of 2020
It is important to note that this six-month extension for your current stage 2018-2020 overlaps your next stage, 2021-2023. We encourage you to work towards the completion of your 2018-2020 stage requirements as quickly as you are able to do so. This will help to ensure that you will have additional time to complete your 2021-2023 stage requirements.
If your 2020 stage requirements are not met prior to the COVID-19 grace period extension deadline of June 30, 2022, your ABFM certification will lapse.
You still have an opportunity to complete all outstanding stage requirements to regain certification during a catch-up period that is available until December 31, 2023. The catch-up period deadline is three years from the original end date of your incomplete certification stage. You then directly enter your next stage which began as scheduled on January 1, 2021.
If you do not complete your 2018-2020 certification requirements prior to the deadline of December 31, 2023, you will then be required to enter the Certification Re-Entry Process.
- For Diplomates with Certification Stage Ending of 2021
It is important to note that this six-month extension for your current stage 2019-2021, will overlap your next stage, 2022-2024. We encourage you to work towards the completion of your 2019-2021 stage requirements as quickly as you are able to do so. This will help to ensure that you have the maximum amount of time to complete your next stage requirements without having to do extra work in the future due to deferring today’s activities into the first six months of 2022.
If your 2021 stage requirements are not met prior to the COVID-19 grace period extension deadline of June 30, 2022, your ABFM Certification will lapse.
You still have an opportunity to complete all outstanding stage requirements to regain certification during a catch-up period that is available until December 31, 2024. The catch-up period deadline is three years from the original end date of your incomplete certification stage. You then directly enter your next stage which began as scheduled on January 1, 2022.
If you do not complete your 2019-2021 certification requirements prior to the deadline of December 31, 2024, you will then be required to enter the Certification Re-Entry Process.
Anyone participating in a Re-Entry process with a deadline date of 2020 or 2021 will be granted an extension through June 30, 2022 to obtain certification.
Examination/FMCLA Requirement Changes
- One-Day Examination
For those physicians who are unable to meet their original 2020 or 2021 examination deadline due to COVID-19, one additional exam attempt will be granted in April 2022 to fulfill this requirement. Registration begins December 3, 2021, for the April 2022 exam. Prometric’s current “Test Center Policies” are available online. Please read those as you prepare for your examination day.
- Added Qualifications
Any physician who holds an Additional Qualification with an original examination deadline in 2020 or 2021, and was unable to meet this original deadline, will be granted one additional exam attempt in 2022 to complete this requirement. Testing dates in 2022 will vary by exam and attempts must be taken at the first available exam administration.
|Added Qualification||2022 Examination Dates||Extension|
|Adolescent Medicine||1/1/2022 - 9/30/2022||6/30/2022|
|Hospice and Palliative Medicine||11/1/2022||12/31/2022|
|Pain Medicine||9/17/2022 - 10/1/2022||12/31/2022|
|Sports Medicine||7/12/2022 – 7/16/2022||9/30/2022|
|Designation of Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine||5/10/2022||6/30/2022|
If you are currently in your first year of FMCLA participation (i.e., you started in January 2021), please be advised that the meaningful participation requirement has been reduced in response to the recent COVID-19 Delta surge. Meaningful participation will now require answering at least 50 total questions by December 31, 2021, instead of the previous requirement of 80.
While we encourage you to fully participate in answering as many questions as you are able, we hope this adjustment will help those who need some additional flexibility at this time. Should you choose to reduce your participation in 2021, please note that you will still be expected to complete your 300-question assessment within the allowable four-year time frame.
To access the FMCLA platform, log in to your MyABFM Portfolio.
Specific Certification Activity Information
- Self-Assessment Activities
The Continuous Knowledge Self-Assessment (CKSA) questions will continue with their current quarterly deadlines. If you are counting on these to meet your point totals, you will not have the ability to “go back” and pick up previous quarters after the time has passed.
You can also meet your self-assessment activity requirements through use of Knowledge Self-Assessments (KSA) or through participation in the new National Journal Club activity.
- Performance Improvement Activities
Performance Improvement (PI) activity requirements have no interim deadlines but will need to be met by June 30, 2022 to complete your stage requirements. It is important to note that the improvement activity you submit will be credited to the year in which it was completed, not the date of the submission.
We encourage you to consider the COVID-19 Self-Directed Clinical Pilot, which makes it easy for you to meet the PI requirement by telling us about the unprecedented changes that you made in the way that you delivered care during the pandemic, regardless of your practice type or scope. You can address many different dimensions of care—virtualization of visits, PPE, office screening protocols for symptomatic patients, COVID-19 screening, vaccination, etc. The changes you describe do not have to focus on just clinical quality measures but can also include process changes, patient and staff safety, patient satisfaction, and any other changes that the practice has identified. Log in to your MyABFM Portfolio to get started.
BOARD ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENT
- Entry Process
Any family physician with an original board eligibility expiration date in 2020 or 2021, or anyone participating in an Entry process with a deadline of 2020 or 2021, will be granted an extension through June 30, 2022 to obtain initial certification.
RESIDENCY TRAINING REQUIREMENTS
- Residents who completed training in 2021
There are no changes to the current 3-year eligibility period that residents have following their training to become board-certified.
- Residents who will complete training in 2022
ABFM understands that there may have been significant shifts in required rotations and continuity clinic operations due to the pandemic that impact the ability of residents to meet their requirements for graduation. For a resident to be eligible for ABFM certification, program directors must attest that the resident has met minimum training requirements, as defined by the ACGME. We have full faith in residency directors to balance clinical needs and resident education to make the best choices possible and will honor their attestation that each graduate is ready for autonomous practice.
ABFM will continue to allow inclusion of precepted tele-visits and visits in other novel settings (e.g., tent clinics, COVID-19 diagnostic center) toward the 1650 visit minimum, as we did for 2021 graduates. These visits will need to be documented in the same way that you have routinely done for in-person continuity visits. Also, as with 2020 and 2021 graduates, we will not require the 1650 continuity visits for residents for the purposes of board eligibility; however, we will ask you to document total visits and number of virtual visits.
Residents are understandably very interested in the opportunity to take the examination in April 2022. We are planning to deliver the Family Medicine Certification Examination at Prometric test centers next April. More information will be provided as soon as possible.