Family Medicine Obstetrics Plays a Major Role in Rural Medicine

Historically, earning board certification was entirely optional for highly motivated and qualified physicians. It was one final step that physicians could take to validate their expertise and experience in their chosen field. However, today the need for physicians to be board certified has never been greater. Increasingly, many healthcare organizations and insurance groups are mandating board certification for physicians, which greatly limits the opportunities available to those who don’t pursue this distinction. The challenge that this has created for many highly qualified physicians, particularly those who practice in rural areas, is that if they do not make the commitment to become board certified in their area of expertise, or do not possess the specific eligibility requirements needed to become board certified, their professional development may be impacted.

Consider the rise of the specialty of Family Medicine Obstetrics. As Daniel M. Avery, Jr., MD and Catherine A. Skinner, MD explain in review of Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics: 2006-2017: “Some 17,380 family physicians attend childbirth in the United States,” with some physicians focusing strictly in childbirth, while others elect to specialize in surgical obstetrics or prenatal care. However, rural areas and other underserved areas have traditionally struggled to recruit physicians who have completed residency training in Family Medicine Obstetrics.  To address this shortcoming, a number of fellowship programs have been created around the country, which provide rigorous, hands-on training to qualified Family Medicine physicians who are interested in specializing in Obstetric Medicine.

Moreover, at the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS), we believe that physicians who successfully complete an approved fellowship in Family Medicine Obstetrics should be recognized for their expertise. As a result, we developed The Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics® (BCFMO) to offer an opportunity for board certification to these fellowship-trained physicians who meet our eligibility requirements found here.

Eligibility Requirements for Certification With the BCFMO

To be eligible to apply for initial board certification with the BCFMO, an applicant must first satisfy the general requirements of the ABPS. These include being a graduate of a recognized U.S., Canadian, or international allopathic or osteopathic college of medicine and holding a valid and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States, its territories, or Canada.

The BCFMO offers two types of certification: surgical qualification certification and non-surgical certification. The BCFMO’s eligibility requirements for the two pathways include:

  • Completing an ACGME- or AOA-accredited residency in family medicine, or a family medicine residency accredited by the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC).
  • Current board certification in family medicine granted by a Member Board of the ABPS, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), the AOA, the RCPSC, or the CFPC.

The non-surgical certification requires a log of non-surgical deliveries and successful completion of the written certification exam.

The surgical qualification certification requires completion of a 12-month, full-time BCFMO-approved fellowship in family medicine obstetrics, or five years ongoing clinical practice delivering obstetrical care, an additional log of cesarean deliveries, and successful completion of the written and oral exam.

Certification With an ABPS Member Board: You Have a Choice

Physicians and residents should know they have options for board certification and recertification. Just like in other industries, having options promotes competition, which is a fundamental principle of the American economy. Competition among certification boards can improve healthcare, encourage innovation, and lower costs.

Choosing ABPS certification doesn’t mean sacrificing prestige or relevance. We’re a nationally recognized certifying body with Diplomates practicing in esteemed institutions across the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Our certification process is open to both allopathic and osteopathic physicians, and physicians certified by ABMS and AOA can recertify with us. To learn more about how the ABPS is working to provide new opportunities to physicians in family medicine obstetrics as well as many other medical specialties, contact us today.

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On October 18, 2007, President George W. Bush released Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 (HSPD-21), calling on our nation, among other initiatives, to “collectively support and facilitate the establishment of a discipline of disaster health”. It is a great testament to the wisdom and foresight of the American Board of Physician Specialties that it immediately set to work and created, within the short span of only one year, an educational blueprint and set of certification examinations, both written and oral, for a new subspecialty of disaster medicine—and it is why I chose to be part this vital initiative and this wonderful organization. This is but one of the many innovative programs initiated by the American Board of Physician Specialties over the years, and why I am proud to support its work on behalf of our nation’s public health.

Art Cooper, MD
Disaster Medicine
When the American Board of Physician Specialties offered to host the American Board of Integrative Medicine, ABPS became a landmark organization working to move medicine into the twenty first century. Certifying physicians who have completed rigorous academic training in Integrative Medicine ensures that the field of Integrative Medicine will continue to develop academically, clinically, and professionally. The leadership of ABPS continues to impress me - they are diligent in constantly innovating to provide certifications for physicians who want to advance their careers and their areas of expertise. I am honored to be a part of this organization.

Ann Marie Chiasson, MD
Integrative Medicine
There are many ways board certification advances a physician career. ABPS Board examination verifies your accuracy, precision, and reflects your mastery of your residency training verifying your expertise. ABPS Board certification demonstrates your level of expertise beyond your practice experience, primary education degrees, and training which are necessary for insurance reimbursement and practice privilege requirements. Attaining your ABPS Board Certification will clarify your purpose, secure your practice growth, and expand into leadership positions. Board certification can serve as an indication of a physician’s commitment to medicine, beyond the minimal standards and competency of training, their measurement to quality of care, and attaining an award for excellence.

Chris Kunis MD
Internal Medicine
When I think historically, advancement in medicine and patient safety and care has been driven by the diversity of people and scientific thought. That’s what I found at the ABPS and more. For over 60 years that is just who we are. I found a physician certifying body that provides a choice and voice to all physicians ensuring that patients are always placed first.

Jerry Allison, MD
Emergency Medicine
When I decided to pursue a full time role as a physician executive it was important to me to obtain additional professional training, education and work experience. Board certification through the ABPS in Administrative Medicine is validation of my efforts and a demonstration of dedication to professional development. We need more physicians to become full time health care executives, knowing there is a board certification option in Administrative Medicine encourages physicians to take the leap from full time clinical practice to healthcare organizational leadership.

Richard Paula, MD
Administrative Medicine
The American Board of Physician Specialties has provided me with the opportunity to demonstrate mastery of internal medicine through board certification. As a hospitalist, board certification is an expected credential, and hospitals recognize the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) as one of the three standard credentialling bodies for Internal Medicine. Additionally, the ABPS has helped me develop leadership skills as a Board member and Committee Chairperson. ABPS has also helped me sharpen critical thinking skills as a test question developer and reviewer. The Allopathic (MD) and Osteopathic (DO) physicians in the ABPS are lifelong learners and frequently pursue multiple board certifications. I enjoy the camaraderie of my peers in ABPS.

Loren Jay Chassels, DO
Internal Medicine