Originally established by American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the Family Medicine Certification process is intended to create a framework for physicians to follow, to establish standards, and to maintain accountability in the field of medicine. The process encompasses initial certification as well as recertification under the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM).
Continuing your education is vital to building your knowledge, maintaining your professional standing, and provide the best possible care for your patients.
ABFM Initial Certification: Requirements
In order to become board certified for the first time, upon completion of your medical training, you must take the initial ABFM certification exam. Use the table below to determine your specific requirements for initial ABFM certification:
|If you began family medicine residency training before June 1, 2012, you must meet the criteria below for initial certification along with submission of an application for the exam with full payment of the exam fee:||If you began family medicine residency training on or after June 1, 2012, you must complete the Resident Certification Entry Process along with submission of an application for the exam with full payment of the exam fee:|
|Complete the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination successfully||Complete the ABFM Family Medicine Certification Examination successfully|
|Meet all of the ACGME program requirements (as verified by the Program Director.)||Verified completion of family medicine residency training|
|Secure a valid, current, full, and unrestricted permanent license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada||Secure a valid, current, full, and unrestricted permanent license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada along with compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct|
|Earn at least 50 Family Medicine Certification points (acquired by completion of modules included below)|
|Minimum of 1 Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) activity (10 points each)|
|Minimum of 1 Performance Improvement (PI) activity with patient population data (20 points each)|
|Additional approved Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA), Clinical Self-Assessment (CSA, 5 points each), or Performance Improvement (PI) activities to reach a minimum of 50 points|
The Family Medicine Board Certification Process: 4 Components
Family medicine board certification involves not only an exam every 7 or 10 years (depending on your certification cycle), but regularly completing assessment modules. The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) developed the Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) process to help physicians to become lifelong learners and to practice medicine at the highest level. The ABFM defines four key elements that need to be completed to maintain certification:
- You are required to retain a full, valid, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada
- You must be in continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct
- You must complete the required number of Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) during the MC-FP cycle
- You must complete the required number of Division I and Division II Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits
Part III—Cognitive Expertise
- You must pass the MC-FP examination (once every 10 years for those who have certified or recertified in 2011 or later; within 7 years for diplomates who certified or recertified between 2003 and 2010)
Part IV—Performance in Practice
- You must complete the required number of Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs) during the MC-FP cycle
In the ABFM MC-FP program, you must successfully complete a series of modules in separate 3-year windows, or “stages,” in accordance with set deadlines, in order to maintain your certification.
Maintaining Your Family Medicine Board Certification: We Can Help
As a family physician, your days are full: caring for patients, building your practice, living your life. Developed by the publishers of the New England Journal of Medicine, NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review’s adaptive learning program is geared to you: It adapts to your strengths and weaknesses, is relevant to your practice of family medicine, and fits seamlessly into your schedule. Our blueprint-guided program can prepare you for the Family Medicine Certification exams and enable you to earn as many as 270 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and 270 AAFP Prescribed credits. Most important, this easy-to-use program is a solution for lifelong learning that will help you as you strive to provide the optimal care for your patients.
The Massachusetts Medical Society is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
AMA Credit Designation Statement
NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine Board Review
The Massachusetts Medical Society designates this enduring material for a maximum of 270 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
AAFP Prescribed Credit
This enduring material activity, NEJM Knowledge+ Family Medicine has been reviewed and is acceptable for up to 270 Prescribed credits by the American Academy of Family Physicians. Term of credit begins February 1, 2016. Term of approval is for one year from this date. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.
This Self-Assessment CME program has been reviewed and is approved for a maximum of 20.00 AAPA Category 1 Self-Assessment CME credits by the Physician Assistant Review Panel. Approval is valid for one year from the release date of 02/01/2016. Physician Assistants should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. This program was planned in accordance with AAPA’s CME Standards.