Maintenance of Certification

    Recognition of Focused Practice in Hospital Medicine

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    ABFM Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians

    ABFM MC-FP, the Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians 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):

    Part I—Professionalism
    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.

    Physicians who are not currently certified 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 would include physicians who have let their certification expire and lapse for more than three (3) years.

    The MC-FP Re-Entry Process requires:  

    • Completion of fifty (50) MC-FP points (acquired by doing modules)
    • Minimum of 1 Part II Module (SAM)
    • Minimum of 1 Part IV Module (PPM or approved alternative)
    • One (1) additional module of your choice (Part II or Part IV)
    • 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

    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 

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