Why Board Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics?

John Waits, MDIn 2014, the American Journal of Clinical Medicine published a study that reaffirmed what we at the American Board of Physician Specialties® (ABPS) have asserted all along – that the care delivered by family medicine physicians is comparable to obstetrics care provided by OB/GYN specialists. In short, the study showed that an experienced family medicine obstetrician can competently perform all of the delivery and post-delivery responsibilities associated with the OB/GYN specialty, including high-risk pregnancies and pre-term deliveries.

But, in rural areas, there is a dire need for more residency-trained family medicine obstetricians. Fellowship programs in family medicine obstetrics were created to address that need, but as more hospitals and insurance companies mandate board certification for physicians, the need has grown more urgent. That’s why the ABPS developed the Board of Certification in Family Medicine Obstetrics® (BCFMO).  We understand that fellowship programs can give family medicine physicians an advanced level of training, and recognize that family medicine obstetricians provide full OB care in their family practices. So, the BCFMO provides qualified family medicine obstetricians who have completed advanced training in maternity care the chance to prove that they have the skills, knowledge, and experience required to provide their patients with exceptional care.

BCFMO Certification Serves as a Credential of Family Medicine Expertise

John Waits, MD, a Diplomate of the BCFMO, is one of our success stories. “This past year,” he said, “our group of three family medicine obstetricians had a practice change. We left one hospital and sought credentialing and privileges in another hospital. One of us had been a family medicine obstetrician for over a decade, with C-section experience. Another one was two years out of an FM-OB fellowship, and one had just completed an FM-OB fellowship. Since this hospital had not had experience with Family Physicians with C-section training, hospital administration, legal, and the department of ObGyn all had their own questions and concerns about credentialing and privileging us. The primary piece that made this situation a win-win for us and for the hospital, was that I was board certified, and my partners were board eligible. I am grateful to have board certification in family medicine obstetrics so that we can continue to provide comprehensive, full-spectrum family medicine to our patients and their families.”

Eligibility Requirements for BCFMO Certification

The BCFMO offers a two types of certification in family medicine obstetrics— surgical qualification certification and non-surgical certification.

Certification with surgical qualification has two paths—clinical practice and fellowship.

For the clinical practice track, candidates must complete an accredited ACGME, AOA, or CFPC residency, or an AOA internship, along with an AOA general medicine residency. Additionally, they must demonstrate that they have performed at least 60 vaginal deliveries and 70 cesarean section deliveries, with 15 vaginal and 10 cesareans performed in the last two years.

For the fellowship track, candidates must have completed within the past five years a 12-month, full-time fellowship recognized by the BCFMO. They should also have performed at least 100 vaginal deliveries and 70 cesareans, with 15 vaginal and 10 cesareans performed in the last two years. You can find a list of BCFMO-recognized fellowships here.

Non-surgical certification requires a log of non-surgical deliveries.

Once deemed eligible, applicants must pass both a written and oral examination for BCFMO certification. These rigorous exams are developed by experts in the field to ensure that only committed physicians skilled in all aspects of obstetrics and gynecology become BCFMO-certified. For a detailed description of the BCFMO exam, click here.

Once granted, BCFMO certification is valid for eight years, expiring on December 31st of the eighth year.

The BCFMO invites qualified physicians to apply for certification in family medicine obstetrics. For information about the BCFMO’s eligibility requirements, contact the ABPS today. The ABPS is the official board certifying body of the American Association of Physician Specialists, Inc.®

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Patient Care Is Our Priority

Medical organizations throughout North America understand that our rigorous certification standards prove that ABPS Diplomates are capable of delivering the best patient care possible.

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