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Urgent Care Certification Eligibility

Updated February 2018

To be eligible for certification in Urgent Care Medicine through the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine (BCUCM) the applicant must:

ABPS General Requirements:

  1. Be in conformity with the Code of Ethics of the American Board of Physician Specialties, be known in his/her community as an ethical member of the profession, and be an active specialist in Urgent Care Medicine.
  2. Be a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine. Graduates of foreign medical schools must hold a valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certificate.
  3. Hold a valid and unrestricted license(s) to practice medicine in the United States, U.S. territories or Canada.

Urgent Care Training and Experience:

  1. ResidencyAll applicants must have completed residency training in a program approved by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) and deemed acceptable to the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine. Such training must include substantial and identifiable training in Urgent Care Medicine as determined by the Board of Certification in Urgent Care Medicine and approved by the ABPS. Applicants without a completed residency may also be eligible if they hold current Board Certification* granted by an ABMS, AOA, or ABPS board that was granted on or before December 31, 2001.
  2. Urgent Care Experience   In addition to fulfilling requirements above, applicants must be qualified under one of the following (2A-D):
    1. Have practiced Urgent Care Medicine on a full-time basis for 2 consecutive years or are currently practicing Urgent Care Medicine and have acceptable, equivalent acute care experience AND have accumulated a minimum of 2,800 hours in the practice of Urgent Care Medicine (as defined in the note below) AND
      1. Have completed an accredited residency in Emergency Medicine, Family Practice, combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, combined Family Practice/Emergency Medicine, combined Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine, or combined Pediatrics/ Emergency Medicine or
      2. Are currently board-certified by an ABMS, AOABOS, or ABPS board in Emergency Medicine or Family Medicine*.
    2. Have been an instructor in Urgent Care Medicine on a full-time basis for 2 consecutive years AND have accumulated a minimum of 2,800 hours in the practice and/or instruction and teaching of Urgent Care Medicine in a distinct outpatient department or clinic that is part of an ACGME-approved institution for postgraduate medical education AND one of the following:
      1. Have completed an ACGME or AOA-accredited residency in Emergency Medicine. Family Practice, combined Internal Medicine/Pediatrics, combined Family Practice/Emergency Medicine, combined Internal Medicine/Emergency Medicine, or combined Pediatrics/ Emergency Medicine or
      2. Are currently board-certified by an ABMS, AOABOS, or ABPS board in Emergency Medicine or Family Medicine*.
    3. Have practiced Urgent Care Medicine on a full-time basis for five (5) consecutive years or are currently practicing Urgent Care Medicine and have acceptable, equivalent acute care experience AND have accumulated a minimum of 7,000 hours in the practice of Urgent Care Medicine (as defined in the note below) AND one of the following:
      1. Have completed an ACGME, AOA, RCSPC, or CFPC accredited residency other than those mentioned above (in 2a or 2b), which includes substantial and identifiable training in Urgent Care Medicine as determined by the BCUCM and approved by the ABPS, OR
      2. Are currently board-certified by an ABMS, AOABOS, or ABPS board in Internal Medicine, Pediatrics, or Occupational Medicine*.
    4. Fellowship Training Program: Completed a twelve (12) month Urgent Care Medicine fellowship training program recognized by the BCUCM (this Fellowship Training Program does not constitute a residency program, and does not fulfill the residency requirement specified in item 1). These programs will have been approved by the Academic Committee of the Urgent Care Association of America. Currently, the BCUCM has approved the following fellowship training programs:
      • University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH
      • University of Illinois College of Medicine, Rockford, IL
      • University of Nevada School of Medicine, Las Vegas
  3. Case Reports -Submit ten (10) Urgent Care Medicine cases for which the physician had the lead management role. Case reports must be no older than twelve (12) months from the date of application submission, as well as meeting the other requirements listed in the Case Report Requirements detailed below.

Additional Application Requirements:

  1. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation from Diplomates of any ABPS, ABMS, AOA, RCPSC, or CFPC Board of Certification. All letters of recommendation must be signed by the author, printed on letterhead, dated within the twelve month period just prior to the submission of the application, and must include author contact and board certification information.
  2. All U.S. physicians must perform a self-query of the National Practitioner Data Bank and submit the report. Get your self-query report at www.npdb-hipdb.hrsa.gov. 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.
  3. Submit a current curriculum vitae, which includes medical school, degrees earned, and work experience, in chronological order.

*About Eligibility through Board Certification: Board certification(s) must be current at the time of application and have been initially granted before December 31, 2001. As fellowship training opportunities in Urgent Care Medicine continue to expand and other post-graduate training options become available, BCUCM anticipates that these pathways for eligibility will close, as they have for other developing specialties.

NOTES on Urgent Care Practice:

“Practicing Urgent Care” is defined as working in an Urgent Care Medicine (UCM) clinic or facility which includes medical staff and diagnostic testing (EKG, x-ray, and basic point-of-care lab-testing) which provides, for the majority of the patients seen at the facility, episodic, unscheduled evaluation and treatment for patients with a broad spectrum of acute, not immediately life-threatening injuries and illnesses. The capability to recognize and provide stabilizing care and efficient transfer for patients with more severe or life-threatening conditions is also essential. UCM facilities are open during hours of the day beyond typical medical office hours, and on weekends and most holidays. Facilities may be medical clinics that are free-standing or are separate clinics within hospitals or larger multi-specialty practices.  A fast-track area within an emergency department may also be considered a UCM facility if the above capabilities are present. All facilities will be verified and must meet approval of the board according to these criteria.

For the purpose of defining “full-time” practice, the BCUCM requires verification of a minimum of 1,400 hours per 12-month period. Verification of less than 1,400 hours in a 12-month period will not be accepted.

Applicants must have been working full-time Urgent Care Medicine for the 12-month period prior to application and must be currently working full-time in Urgent Care Medicine in an urgent care facility acceptable to the board.

Independent verification of urgent care facilities and hours must be submitted on letterhead stationery (from someone with access to information regarding the physician’s experience) itemized by year and number of hours earned each year. Hours may be presented over a 12-month consecutive period or a calendar year. Clinic/facility medical director or lead administrator must complete the verification. For a sample facility verification letter click here.

Case Report Requirements:

The case reports must be no older than twelve (12) months from the date the candidate’s application for certification is received by ABPS. Case reports shall only include information on the care and services provided by the applicant. At the point where a patient’s care is transferred to another physician or facility, the applicant’s case presentation is complete.

The Board in general looks for cases that show the application of accepted/standard medical practice in the management of the patient, resulting in an excellent outcome. The Board is not looking for controversial or unusual case management, even if the physician can justify his or her actions. One purpose of Board certification is to demonstrate knowledge/application of practices acceptable in Urgent Care Departments across the United States and Canada.

Content Requirements
All applicants are required to choose five areas, from the following ten (Infectious disease; Pediatrics; Orthopedics; Pulmonary disease; Gastrointestinal disease; Cardiovascular disease; Ear/nose/throat disease; Wound care; Obstetrical/gynecological disorder; Evaluation, stabilization, and transfer of a critically-ill patient from the clinic to a higher level of care), on which to submit cases. The remaining five cases may document any other area of practice that the applicant chooses.

Format Requirements
The applicant must submit ten (10) case reports in the following format:

  1. Case reports must be typewritten.
  2. Case reports must be double spaced on 8.5″ x 11″ white paper.
  3. The applicant must sign each case report.
  4. An index shall be placed at the front of reports indicating the type of case (diagnosis) and the page number on which the case can be found.
  5. Confirmation of validity of the reports by hospital administrator, medical records director, or whoever performs such duties at the facility. This must be on official letterhead verifying that you were the physician treating the patient in each case on the date stated. If the applicant’s cases reflect work at more than one institution, then separate letters must be submitted verifying the cases from each institution. This validation must be notarized and signed. (Refer to sample index/verification form.)
  6. Case reports should contain the following information:
    For patient no. list the same number as the case number (Refer to index/verification form.)

A.    Date of Urgent Care treatment

B.    Chief complaint

C.    History

D.    Physical examination and results of the Urgent Care work-up, including any tests

E.    Urgent Care course and final disposition including condition of patient at the time of completion of your care of the patient, as well as final diagnosis

F.     Each case must include discussion of the case, demonstrating to the Credentials Committee what the thought process was in the evaluation of the patient, diagnostic and treatment approach, and indication that the candidate understood the pathophysiology of the patient’s problem, and some rationale to explain the patient’s final disposition. This is the most important section of the case report and will be reviewed closely.

The BCUCM Credentials Committee reserves the right to seek additional details for any case it deems necessary. Board certified practicing Urgent Care Physicians carefully scrutinize these cases. Every attempt at accuracy and clarity should be made. Please note that case reports are not copies of dictated Urgent Care summaries from the chart, but are specifically prepared documents for the application packet.  Case reports not adhering to the above mentioned format will be rejected.