ABFM: Lipstick on a Pig


The AAFP points out on their site that the ABFM is busy “fine-tuning the continuing certification process to best meet family physicians’ professional development and lifelong learning needs continues.”  Is this a joke?  All family docs want the recertification process dropped!  It goes on:

  • As ABFM President and CEO James Puffer, M.D., said during a recent AAFP visit to the board’s headquarters in Lexington, Ky.: “We have a lot of exciting things going on that we think will benefit your members.”
  • For starters, the term “MC-FP” is going by the wayside; it’s the Family Medicine Certification process now.
  • And although the four core elements that make up the certification process — Professionalism, Self-Assessment & Lifelong Learning, Cognitive Expertise, and Performance Improvement — remain with some modifications, other terms have changed, as well, to more accurately describe what they are.
  • And it’s not just the terminology that’s changing. Perhaps the most substantive change to Family Medicine Certification was based on ABFM diplomates’ feedback regarding the SAMs. Namely, that the clinical simulation portion of these activities was not as useful as the knowledge assessment portion in helping to enhance clinical practice.


Wow, big news. In other words, as the the Talking Heads would say, same as it ever was.  But don’t forget:

  • Finally, the ABFM is simplifying how diplomates pay for certification, shifting from the current methodology — which amortized the total cost of certification (including the cost of the next examination) based on whether the physician was following the seven- or 10 year certification cycle option — to simply paying the same amount annually regardless of certification pathway. The annual payment will still include the cost of the next examination.

That is critical.  The ABFM keeps getting paid and they get paid a lot.  The first comment on the site was from a doctor who said,”This is pure rubbish – putting lipstick on a pig, as the saying goes.”  Exactly.  So why doesn’t the AAFP do something instead of promoting the ABFM information on their website?  Is there some connection financially that I am unaware of?

88230cookie-checkABFM: Lipstick on a Pig