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Family Medicine Obstetrics Eligibility

Effective February 18, 2008

The process of certification for Family Medicine Obstetrics involves satisfactory completion of a written examination, an oral examination and demonstration of surgical competency to peer observers.

To begin the initial process of board certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics through the Board of Certification in Family Medicine/Obstetrics (BCFMO), the applicant must:

  1. Submit a completed Family Medicine Obstetrics (BCFMO) application with required processing fee, two (2) passport-size photographs taken within the last 90 days and a notarized signature.
  2. Be in conformity with the Code of Ethics of the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS); be known in his/her community as an ethical member of the profession, and be active in Family Practice/Medicine.
  3. Be a graduate of a recognized college of medicine confirmed by a copy of an allopathic/osteopathic degree or a letter of verification from the institution where the degree was earned.  In the case of foreign medical schools, an English translation of the document is also required.  Graduates of foreign medical schools must also include a copy of their Education Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certificate. Canadian medical schools and medical training programs are considered equivalent to U.S. medical schools and medical training programs.
  4. Hold a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, or its territories, or in Canada and submit copies of all licenses. License(s) must include date of expiration.
  5. Submit a current curriculum vitae which includes medical school experiences and degrees earned in chronological order.
  6. Verify staff privileges by means of an original signed letter from the administrator of each hospital, or facility, at which privileges are held confirming good standing at that facility. The letter(s) must be current, dated no more than one year prior to the date the application is received by ABPS.
  7. Be certified on the “Provider” level in the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) program, and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) program. ALSO and NRP do not have to be current at the time of submitting the application, but must be current and on file 30 days prior to taking the examination.
  8. Be board certified in Family Medicine by the ABMS, ABPS or AOA or be eligible to be certified by the College of Family Practice of Canada (CFPC), or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons (RCPSC). Other Board Certifications may be considered on an individual basis.
  9. Be qualified under one of the following: The ABPS now accepts all residencies accepted by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC). ABPS therefore now accepts all residencies approved by ACGME, AOA, or RCPSC. It should be noted that the ABPS accepts ALL medical residencies approved by the RCPSC, including approved residencies outside Canada.
    1. Have completed residency training in a program approved by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education or the American Osteopathic Association, College of Family Practice of Canada (CFPC), or the Royal College of Physicians and surgeons (RCPSC) and deemed acceptable to the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics. Such training must include identifiable training and experience in Family Medicine Obstetrics as determined by the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics and approved by the ABPS.
    2. Osteopathic physicians who have successfully completed an AOA-approved internship, plus an AOA-approved General Medicine residency and have a minimum of two (2) years full-time experience in Family Medicine and 300 hours of CME acceptable to the BCFMO.  An ABPS CME form must be used, to view click here. (Form is included with the application materials)
  10. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation from active Diplomates of an ABPS, ABMS, or AOA-recognized board of certification. Letters of recommendation must be current (dated no more than one year prior to the date the application is received by the ABPS) and on letterhead stationery. Letters submitted on plain paper, without an address or telephone number of the signatory, are not acceptable. The BCFMO requires original letters; copies are not acceptable. The BCFMO recommends that the letters be sent to the applicant for inclusion with other application documents.
  11. In order to sit for the written exam, applicants must also be qualified under one (A or B) of the following:

A. Clinical Practice Track – This Track Will Be Available Until 2018.

  1. The applicant must be a family physician with care of obstetric patients on an ongoing basis for five (5) years. This care should include the practice of surgical obstetrics. Documentation of training in obstetrics should include a case log listing all obstetrical cases completed in the previous two years. Applicants should demonstrate that their volume of obstetrical medicine is sufficient to maintain competence. The Board may consider applications who have participated in GME programs which include high volume maternity care, including operative obstetrics.
    1. Applicants should have performed a minimum of 100 vaginal deliveries within the last 5 years.
    2. Applicants should have performed a minimum of 50 cesarean sections within the last 5 years, with a case log that is externally validated by one of the following: Medical Records, Medical Staff Office, Medical Director, Department Chair, or Program Director.

B. Fellowship Track

  1. Applicants who have satisfactorily completed a 12-month, full-time fellowship that is recognized by the BCFMO will be considered eligible to sit for the written exam. The applicant should have completed their fellowship training within the last five years (8/2002). A list of fellowship programs that are currently recognized by the BCFMO is attached, Click Here. Applicants who have completed a fellowship program that has not been recognized by the BCFMO may ask their program to submit materials for consideration.
  2. For Fellows who have completed a recognized fellowship, the fellowship director must submit an original signed letter of verification attesting to the applicant’s satisfactory completion of the program.
  3. The requirements for Fellowship training are outlined in the document “Guidelines for Recognition of Fellowship Programs by the BCFMO” and include the following minimum numbers of procedures.
    1. A minimum of 100 vaginal deliveries.
    2. A minimum of 50 cesarean sections, with a case log that is externally validated by one of the following: Medical Records, Medical Staff Office, Medical Director, Department Chair, Fellowship Director or Program Director.
  4. Applicants who have completed a fellowship program that has NOT been recognized by the BCFMO will be required to follow the Clinical Practice track for eligibility.

After successful completion of the written examination, applicants are also required to submit verification of competency in operative obstetrics and complete an oral examination. This portion of the examination will have an additional fee. The process is as follows:

  • The applicant must submit the names of three active Diplomates of an ABPS, ABMS, or AOA-recognized board of certification who will observe, or who have observed, the applicant during the care of Obstetrical patients, including at least 5 cesarean sections, and who will be willing to attest to the applicant’s surgical skills.
  • The Board will ask one or more of these physicians to complete and sign a notarized Statement of Evaluation regarding the applicant’s level of independence and surgical skill, to view click here.
  • Those applicants who successfully complete the attestation process will be eligible to sit for the oral examination.

Successful completion of the oral examination satisfies all the requirements for initial board certification.

All physicians must do a self-query of the National Practitioner Data Bank and submit a sealed (unopened envelope) copy of the report as part of the application process. The report need not be submitted with the application but must be provided in order for the applicant to be approved to take the written examination. For information on performing a self-query of the Bank, go the National Practitioner Data Bank at http://npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov for information.

All Canadian physicians must request and submit a testament statement from each Province in which a license is held, verifying that there have been no disciplinary actions against the applicant.

All physicians must allow AAPS to perform a background check, attested by initialing the appropriate line on the application form.

All physicians must submit the signed candidate appeal form.

Payment of appropriate fees. To view the fee schedule, click here.

The BCFMO recommends that the applicant keep a copy of all applications documents submitted to the ABPS.