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Family Medicine Obstetrics Eligibility

Updated April 2018

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:

ABPS General Requirements:

  1. 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 Medicine Obstetrics.
  2. Be a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine. International graduates must also hold a valid Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) Certificate.
  3. Hold a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, U.S. territories, or in Canada.

Family Medicine Obstetrics Training and Experience:

  1. Be qualified under one of the following:
    1. Have completed residency training in a program approved by the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the American Osteopathic Association (AOA), 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. The ABPS also accepts all residencies approved by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) and The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), including approved residencies outside Canada.
    2. Osteopathic physicians – 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Be certified on the “Provider” level in the Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics (ALSO) and Neonatal Resuscitation Provider (NRP) programs. 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.
  4. Be board certified in Family Medicine by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), ABPS, or AOA or be eligible to be certified by the CFPC. Other Board Certifications may be considered on an individual basis.
  5. Be qualified under one (A or B) of the following:
    1. Clinical Practice Track 
      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.
      2. Applicants should have performed a minimum of 100 vaginal deliveries within the last 5 years.
      3. 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.
    2. 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.  For a list of fellowship programs that are currently recognized by the BCFMO, Click here. Applicants who have completed a fellowship program, or an extended residency program with substantial and identifiable obstetrics training, that has not been recognized by the BCFMO may ask their program to submit materials for consideration.
        1. 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.
      2. Applicants who are in good standing in a 12-month, full-time fellowship that is recognized by the BCFMO may be eligible to sit for the qualifying written exam prior to completion of the fellowship.
        1. For applicants who have not yet completed the fellowship, the fellowship director must submit an original signed letter of verification attesting to the applicant’s satisfactory progress in the program.
      3. The requirements for Fellowship training 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.
          3. Applicants who are approved to sit for the written examination prior to completion of the fellowship must provide documentation of the completion of the fellowship and the required procedures in order to be approved to sit for the oral exam.
      4. Applicants who have completed a fellowship program or residency that has NOT been recognized by the BCFMO will be required to follow the Clinical Practice track for eligibility.

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 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.
  4. After successful completion of the written examination, applicants are also required to submit verification of competency in operative obstetrics and successfully complete an oral examination. 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.