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Urgent Care Certification Eligibility

Revised July 2013

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. Submit an Urgent Care Medicine application form complete with the required application processing fee, two (2) passport-size photographs taken within the last 90 days, and notarized signature.
  2. 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.
  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 Educational 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(s) to practice medicine in the United States, its territories or Canada.
  5. Submit a current curriculum vitae, which includes medical school experiences and degrees earned, in chronological order.

BCUCM Specific Requirements:

  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 AOABOS, ABMS or ABPS board in Emergency Medicine, Family Practice 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 AOABOS, ABMS or ABPS board in Emergency Medicine, Family Practice 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 AOABOS, ABMS 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 12 months from the date of application submission, as well as meeting the other requirements listed in the Case Report Requirements (detailed on the Application page).

Additional Application Requirements:

  1. Submit three (3) letters of recommendation from Diplomates of an ABPS, American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS), or AOA-recognized board of certification. All letters of recommendation must be printed on letterhead, must be dated within the twelve months prior to the submission of the application, and must include an original signature, author contact information for the author, and should indicate the board certification(s) held by the author. Copies are not acceptable. These letters do not need to be mailed directly to ABPS, but can be included with the applicant’s materials and certification application.
  2. U.S. 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. For information on performing a self-query of the Bank, go to the website 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. Sign and submit the ABPS Disclosure and Authorization to obtain Criminal Background Reports form.
  4. Sign and submit the ABPS Examinations Complaints and Appeals Process form.
  5. Payment of appropriate fees. To view the fee schedule, click here.

The BCUCM recommends that the applicant keep a copy of all application documents submitted to the ABPS.

*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.