ABFM Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians
The Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) process provided by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM), is the means by which the ABFM continually assesses Diplomates. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), sensing growing and repeated threats from outside the medical field, determined that ABMS specialists within every discipline should be required to meet the highest standards of accountability. In response, the ABMS designed a process called Maintenance of Certification, and each specialty board agreed to adhere to a set structure in developing their individual programs. This structure consists of four components, each designed to assess important physician characteristics: professionalism (Part I), self-assessment and lifelong learning (Part II), cognitive expertise (Part III), and performance in practice (Part IV). Although these elements are similar to and consistent with the ABFM's long-standing recertification program, the ABFM Maintenance of Certification process stresses the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between recertification examinations. ABFM MC-FP is a requirement that the ABFM believes encourages clinical excellence and benefits both physicians and their patients.
The following will provide a brief description of each component (for additional information on each component, follow the links on the left):
Fulfillment of this component requires a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada and continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct
Part II—Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning
Fulfillment of this component requires completion of the required number of Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) during the MC-FP cycle and completion of the required credits of Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Part III—Cognitive Expertise
Fulfillment of this component requires the successful completion of the MC-FP examination
Part IV—Performance in Practice
Fulfillment of this component requires completion of the required number of Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs) during the MC-FP cycle
In the ABFM MC-FP program, each certified Diplomate must successfully complete a series of modules in separate 3-year windows, called "stages." Completing these requirements in a timely manner allows the Diplomate to maintain his or her certification status.
The MC-FP Re-Entry Process
Physicians who have let their certification expire and lapse for more than three (3) years or have never been in the MC-FP process will need to complete the Re-Entry Process in order to be eligible for the exam and gain certification status. This process requires:
- Completion of fifty (50) MC-FP points, which includes:
- Minimum of one (1) Self-Assessment Module (SAM)
- Minimum of one (1) Part IV Module (PPM or approved alternative)
- Additional approved Part II or Part IV activities to reach a minimum of 50 points
- Completion of one hundred fifty (150) credits of acceptable CME (minimum 50% Division I), acquired in last three (3) years
- Compliance with ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct which includes holding a currently valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada
- Submission of three (3) MC-FP Process Payments; one (1) payment at the start of each module
- Submission of application and accompanying full examination fee for the MC-FP Examination
- Successful completion of the MC-FP Examination
- The MC-FP Re-Entry process must be completed no later than 3 calendar years following the year the process is started. If the process is not completed in the established timeframe, a new cycle of MC-FP Re-Entry will be required in order to gain recertification. Any modules completed prior to starting the Re-Entry cycle (and their fees) will not carry forward. Any incomplete modules started prior to the Re-Entry cycle will be reset so they may be started anew and unused fees will be refunded.
Requirements for Diplomates who certified or recertified in 2003–2010 (Family physicians who are currently certified by the ABFM)
Requirements for Diplomates who certified or recertified in 2011 and beyond
Candidate Information Booklets
View important dates and deadlines for Certification / Recertification.
Get the answers to frequently asked questions.
Begin a Part II Module
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Begin a Part IV Module
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Track Your Progress
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