American Board of Family Medicine

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The American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) is a non-profit, independent medical association of American physicians who practice in family medicine and its sub-specialties. Founded in February 1969 as the American Board of Family Practice (ABFP), the group was the 20th medical specialty to be recognized and was formed out of a need to encourage medical school graduates to enter general practice. It adopted its current name in 2005.

The American Board of Family Medicine is the second-largest medical specialty board in the United States. Its purposes include:

  • Improving the quality of medical care available to the public
  • Establishing and maintaining standards of excellence in the specialty of family medicine
  • Improving the standards of medical education for training in family medicine
  • Determining by evaluation the fitness of specialists in family medicine who apply for and hold certificates

Mission[edit]

The mission of the ABFM is to promote excellence in medical care through educational and scientific initiatives. Through certification and maintenance of certification programs the ABFM pursues its mission by establishing, maintaining, and measuring high standards of excellence in the specialty of Family Medicine. The ABFM seeks to provide assurance to the public that certified family physicians possess the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to provide quality care to the individual, family and community through commitment to professional standing, continued competency in the specialty of Family Medicine, and lifelong learning. Unfortunately, they have recently come under fire for massive fee hikes on the very doctors they are suppose to represent, making the recertification process extremely expensive and difficult to pass ( insuring members will have to repeat the expensive process) while the Directors recently gave themselves a 400% pay increase. The Head Director, Dr Puffer, now has his salary publicly listed at $740,000 a year, for a " nonprofit " organization

Certification[edit]

Candidates seeking certification or recertification must meet the eligibility criteria specified by the American Board of Family Medicine. Candidates must complete all requirements, culminating in the successful completion of the cognitive examination.

Certification candidates must have satisfactorily completed three years of training in a Family Medicine residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) subsequent to receipt of the M.D. or D.O. degree from an accredited institution. Additional policies apply to candidates who have completed their medical or residency training outside the United States. Review certification policies

The American Board of Family Medicine requires periodic recertification to maintain Diplomate status. Currently certificates are valid for a seven-year period; however, as of January 2007, a Diplomate who meets all the requirements for MC-FP within the required timeframes will have the opportunity to extend their certificate to a ten-year period.

Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP)[edit]

Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) is the process that provides the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) with the means to continually assess Diplomates. The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) 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 within the ABMS has agreed to adhere to a set structure in developing their own 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, MC-FP stresses the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between recertification examinations. MC-FP is a requirement that the ABFM believes encourages clinical excellence and benefits both physicians and their patients.

Publications[edit]

The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine is the official publication of the board, succeeding The Journal of the American Board of Family Practice which was published 1988-2005.

Reciprocity Agreements[edit]

The American Board of Family Medicine has reciprocity agreements with the College of Family Physicians of Canada[1], the Royal New Zealand College of General Practitioners, and the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners. Diplomates of the ABFM may be eligible to seek certification by these colleges as well. Members in good standing of these colleges who meet all other requirements of the ABFM and reside in the United States may be eligible to take the Certification Examination. Eligibility to sit for the American Board of Family Medicine Certification Examination through reciprocity is available only to physicians who have satisfactorily completed formal Family Medicine or General Practitioner training accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting organization within Canada, Australia, or New Zealand.[2]

See also[edit]

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