The Family Medicine Certification process provided by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is the means by which the ABFM continually assesses Diplomates. The ABFM's long-standing recertification program, the ABFM Family Medicine Certification process stresses the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between certification examinations. ABFM Family Medicine Certification is a required process 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 an active, valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in any state or territory of the United States or any province of Canada and continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct [PDF]
Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning
Fulfillment of this component requires completion of the required number of Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) activities during the Certification stage and completion of the required credits of Continuing Medical Education (CME)
Fulfillment of this component requires the successful completion of the Family Medicine Certification examination during the required time period
Fulfillment of this component requires completion of the required number of Performance Improvement (PI) activities during the Certification stage
In the ABFM Family Medicine Certification program, each certified Diplomate must successfully complete a series of Certification activities in separate 3-year windows, called "stages." Completing these requirements in a timely manner allows the Diplomate to maintain his or her certification status. Those Diplomates last certified between 2003-2010 had the option to maintain a 7-year certificate or gain a 10-year certificate. Those physicians that chose to maintain a 7-year certificate participate in required Certification activities throughout the 7-year cycle.
The Certification Re-Entry Process
Physicians who have let their certification expire and lapse for more than three (3) years or who were last certified prior to 2003 will need to complete the Re-Entry Process in order to be approved to take the Family Medicine Certification examination and gain certification status. This process requires:
- Completion of Family Medicine Certification Self-Assessment & Performance Improvement Requirements:
- Minimum of one (1) Knowledge Self-Assessment Activity
- Minimum of one (1) Performance Improvement Activity with Patient Population
- Minimum of 50 Family Medicine Certification points from completion of Self-Assessment and Performance Improvement Activities
- 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 an active, valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in any state or territory of the United States or any province of Canada
- Submission of Re-Entry Process Fee
- Submission of application and accompanying full examination fee for the Family Medicine Certification Examination
- Successful completion of the Family Medicine Certification Examination
- The Certification 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 Certification Re-Entry Process will be required in order to gain certification. Any modules completed prior to starting the Re-Entry Process (and subsequent fees) will not carry forward. Any incomplete modules started prior to the Re-Entry Process will be reset so they may be started anew and unused fees will be refunded.