The American Board of Physician Specialties® Has Options for Family Medicine Physicians
The Board of Certification in Family Medicine (BCFM) is committed to the idea that family medicine physicians deserve to be certified in the specialty they practice. But that doesn’t always mean family medicine. Considering today’s healthcare environment, it’s not hard to understand why. Many family medicine doctors, particularly those in underserved or rural areas, have established their careers in other medical specialties to fill a community’s medical needs. The problem is that even though they may be highly skilled and knowledgeable practitioners, they often find themselves at a disadvantage when it comes to career advancement.
That’s because, across the country, hospitals and other healthcare organizations overwhelmingly view physician board certification as a requirement for hiring, staffing privileges, and promotions. Where does this leave a rural family medicine doctor who is an expert in emergency care, or one who has vast experience and knowledge in obstetrics? Is it right to limit their careers and privileges, and thus, patient access, simply because of restrictive staffing bylaws?
At the BCFM, we don’t think so. We believe that talented and dedicated physicians should have some verifiable way, beyond their track record of patient care, to show that they have extraordinary medical skills in their practiced specialty. To that end, we offer family physicians an opportunity to earn board certification in a variety of medical specialties, including:
- Family medicine
- Emergency medicine
- Family medicine obstetrics
- Integrative medicine
What Are the Eligibility Requirements of the BCFM?
While the eligibility requirements for physicians seeking board certification vary from one specialty to the next, there are a number of prerequisites common to all Member Boards of the ABPS. These prerequisites encompass the following:
- Graduation from a recognized U.S. or Canadian allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine.
- Holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.
The Board of Certification in Family Medicine (BCFM) has its own eligibility requirements that include:
- Completing an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency in family medicine, or a family medicine residency accredited by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC)
- Submitting a current curriculum vitae that includes medical school, degrees earned, and work experience, in chronological order
- Submitting a documented report of at least ten family medicine cases for which the physician had the lead management role. The case reports must be no older than twelve months from the date the candidate’s application for certification is submitted to the ABPS.
To earn certification in family medicine with the BCFM, candidates must pass a computer-based written exam that consists of 200 multiple-choice questions administered over a four-hour session.
Once granted, all ABPS certificates are good for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.
You can find more information about the BCFM’s eligibility requirements here.
Physician Certification From a Nationally Recognized Certifying Body
The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recognize the governing board of the BCFM, the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), as one of three nationally distinguished physician board certifying bodies.
If you are a family physician looking for a way to show your patients, peers, and employer that you are an exceptionally skilled medical specialist, contact the ABPS. We’ll be glad to explain the eligibility requirements for certification through our Member Boards listed above and start you on the journey to more career opportunities.