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maintenance of certification


Changes Afoot in Maintenance of Certification

The AAFP and ABFM are making changes in the Family Medicine Certification (MOC) program.   The ABFM’s long-standing recertification program, the ABFM Family Medicine Certification (formerly MOC or MC-FP) process stresses the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between certification examinations. The revised program still includes the original four components, but criteria for them have changed.

Any physician who successfully completes the examination in 2011 or thereafter will enter the continuous Family Medicine Certification process which requires each physician to successfully complete requirements in order to maintain certification. Diplomates certified in 2011 and beyond will all have a 10-year examination requirement, a simplified financial plan, and flexibility with the activity requirements.

The Family Medicine Certification process now requires participation thresholds to be met in 3-year stages. The printed certificate provided to physicians will not have an end date; however, requirements must be maintained in order for certification to continue. Certification status will be contingent upon meeting these Family Medicine Certification requirements within the 3-year stage deadline.

  • Minimum of one (1) Knowledge Self-Assessment (KSA) activity
  • Minimum of one (1) Performance Improvement activity (PPM or approved alternative)
  • Additional approved Self‐Assessment or Performance Improvement activities to reach a minimum of 50 points

In addition, each Diplomate must complete 150 CME credits each 3-year stage, continuously maintain an active, valid, full, unrestricted license to practice medicine in any state or territory of the United States or any province of Canada, and be in continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct.

As long as a Diplomate continues to meet these requirements in each 3-year stage, the Diplomate will be listed as board-certified on the ABFM website. If a Diplomate fails to meet these requirements for any 3-year stage, the Diplomate will be listed as “not certified” on the ABFM website. A Diplomate has three years (after becoming “not certified”) to regain certification status by completing the required Family Medicine Certification activities. Once the delinquent activities are completed, the Diplomate will again be listed as board-certified (but the break in certification history will be listed permanently on the ABFM website).


If a Diplomate does not meet the current 3-year stage requirements, and does not complete all previously delinquent activities in the next 3-year stage, the Diplomate will be required to complete the Certification Re-Entry Process (which will include successfully completing the Family Medicine Certification Examination).   Effective July 2016, these activities can be reported simply as scholarly activities and will qualify for AAFP Prescribed credit. Members may claim a maximum of 100 credits in this area per three-year re-election cycle. “We didn't take away members’ ability to claim credit for the scholarly pursuit of knowledge; we reduced the complexity of how members report this information,” says Amy Smith, MBA, AAFP senior manager of CME credit systems and compliance.

Members can earn CME credit in both formal and informal categories. Formal CME includes activities that have been certified by the AAFP for Prescribed or Elective credit. Informal CME includes self-directed learning activities that are not certified for credit. Elaine Conrad, director of the AAFP's membership division, says “This effort is intended to simply make things easier for members by streamlining requirements.”


The AAFP’s CME reporting tool already has been modified to accommodate this change.   As a reminder, the AAFP's CME requirement calls for members to obtain a minimum of 25 credits from live learning activities every three years. To qualify, live activities must be held in real time, include two or more people and offer either Prescribed or Elective credit. Examples include medical seminars or conferences such as AAFP clinical courses, lecture series, live webinars or life support activities (e.g., advanced cardiovascular life support, advanced trauma life support, basic life support, pediatric advanced life support).


Teaching also counts as a live activity, and members are allowed to report a maximum of 60 AAFP Prescribed credits every three years for teaching health professions learners.



Please contact CAFP’s CME Team, or Shelly Rodrigues. Questions about the ABFM process may also go to


CAFP Supporting Two Performance Improvement Activities



Advance Care Planning and Advance Directives

CAFP, in partnership with Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association, has developed an ABFM Performance Improvement (formerly Part IV) module.  This module is designed to increase the numbers of patients with advance directives in place, to enhance physician-patient communication, and to improve end-of-life care.  The module is approved for ABFM Part IV credit, includes 30 AAFP Prescribed credits upon completion and is based on a team-approach [AMA PRA Category 1 ™ credit is also available].  The module is appropriate for any family physician, family medicine resident, or other primary care physician.  The module is also approved for any ABMS board PPM credit. 



Contact Shelly Rodrigues.




managing chronic pain


Continuing medical education and professional development to address the management of chronic pain, including, but not limited, to the use of opioids, is one very important means to improve patient care.  The Interstate Postgraduate Medical Association (IPMA) has developed an MOC Part IV module, approved for American Board of Family Medicine Part IV MC-FP credit.  It is an online, team- and evidence-based approach to improving your care of chronic pain patients.