Continuing Certification

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    Revocation of Certificates

    Authority to Revoke Certification

    Once issued, the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) retains the right to revoke certification in the event a Diplomate is found to be in noncompliance with the Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct (hereafter "Guidelines"). For a detailed description, please see the Guidelines, which may be found by visiting the ABFM website, click About from the top row of options, then click Definitions and Policies from the menu on the left side of the page, and lastly, click the link for Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct (or simply by clicking this link: Guidelines [PDF]).

    Generally, the Guidelines impose requirements relative to the expectation of a physician's personal conduct, medical licensure, and general adherence to the standards of professionalism. Although you will find the specific requirements in the Guidelines, Family Medicine Certification requires adherence to the following:

    • Professionalism
      A physician must not have been found to have demonstrated unethical, unprofessional, impaired, or immoral behavior, incompetence, discompetence, or have failed to provide accurate and complete responses on applications and forms submitted to the ABFM or to the governing bodies exercising jurisdiction over a physician's conduct and right to practice medicine. Further, a physician may be found to be in violation of the Guidelines if the physician misrepresents the physician's ABFM Diplomate status, status as ABFM Board Eligible, or if the physician is determined to have been involved in fraudulent activity, cheating or attempting to subvert an ABFM examination. For a more detailed description of the professionalism requirement, see the Guidelines [PDF].
    • Licensure
      Family Medicine Certification requires each Diplomate hold a medical license which is currently active, valid, full, and not subject to practice privilege limitations in all jurisdictions in the United States, its territories, or Canada, in which the physician holds a license. For a more detailed description of the licensure requirement, see the Guidelines [PDF].
    • Personal Conduct
      As stated in the Guidelines, physicians must recognize responsibility to patients first and foremost, and be responsible for maintaining respect for the law. Violations of Personal Conduct requirements are determined based upon criminal and/or related conduct and failure to timely and properly respond to ABFM inquiries. For a more detailed description of the personal conduct requirement, see the Guidelines [PDF].

    Physician's Responsibility to Report Professionalism Violations

    It is the responsibility of the physician to inform the ABFM in writing of any compliance issues related to the Guidelines.

    Any physician subject to an action involving a governing body, referring to any legally constituted entity with control over both the credentialing and privileging aspect of a physician's practice of medicine, such as state medical boards, DEA, CMS, etc. (for a specific definition, please see the Guidelines [PDF]), must report the action to the ABFM. Should a physician be uncertain about whether or not they are in compliance with the Guidelines, a written inquiry should be made to the Board. Communications may be made by postal mail, faxed to 859-335-7526, emailed to license@theabfm.org, or through a link in the Physician Portfolio on the Manage Medical License page.

    Monitoring Activity and Licensure Status

    The ABFM reviews periodic American Medical Association Disciplinary Action Reports and also performs individual physician records request with the Federation of State Medical Boards to confirm licensure status as needed.

    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, from any other source than the Diplomate. Consequently, it is your responsibility to maintain current license information with the ABFM.

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