ABFM Board Certification

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Cost of Certification

ABFM Board Certification fees are established by the year in which the physician last certified or recertified and are further defined by the year in which the Diplomate makes his or her first payment or selects a payment plan. Additionally, this payment is modified dependent on whether the physician was successful in earning the extension from a 7-year certificate to a 10-year certificate. Therefore, we present the specific payment plans and terms to each Diplomate through his or her portfolio so that there are no misunderstandings about the available choices and plans. We are not able to provide a single presentation for all the fee options as those options are tied to the initial year of participation, elections made or not made in specific years, and successful participation in ABFM Board Certification.

ABFM Board Certification fees include much more than the cost of the examination. The ABFM Board Certification fee includes the ongoing efforts of staff to verify licensure status, monitor CME credit, create and review items for use in the next examination, and to create the software that allows physicians to register for and complete ABFM Board Certification Parts II and IV modules online. ABFM Board Certification fees also provide the resources to staff our support center to answer questions over the phone and internet about the ABFM Board Certification process, the cost to register for the next exam, the seat in the computer test center, the scoring and validation of the results of the exam, and finally posting those results for review on our website.

When the ABFM designed ABFM Board Certification, the ABFM had to account for all of the costs mentioned above plus the cost of new development and regular updating of the Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs), Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs), and Methods in Medicine Modules (MIMMs). Additionally, the ABFM had to apportion cost to expansion of our website, maintenance of sufficient bandwidth to guarantee 24-7 access at reasonable speed by multiple users, and cover the cost of co-location of our server farm to guarantee continuous access to our ABFM Board Certification products should a single site go down.

It is important to note that physicians will receive CME credit for each module completed, and this will be credited toward the ABFM CME requirement. Physicians will be able to complete these modules from the convenience of home or office on computer. This will offset some of the cost, time, and travel that might be incurred to obtain CME to meet state licensing requirement or AAFP membership requirements. Physicians will be able to accumulate 50 CME credits per 3-year stage by completing two SAMs and one PPM.

When the ABFM moved to continuous ABFM Board Certification for those certifying or recertifying beginning in 2011, the ABFM moved to a simpler and more understandable payment plan. Diplomates who certify or recertify from 2011 forward currently have an annual process fee in the amount of $200 for ABFM Board Certification plus an exam application fee in the year that the Diplomate elects to take the exam. This current plan allows for Diplomates wishing to fix their cost for ABFM Board Certification to prepay for any number of years, but not more than nine, by paying in advance. This plan, by separating the exam application fee, also allows those who wish to participate in ABFM Board Certification to maintain their Diplomate status, but expect not to take the exam at the end of a 10-year period, to simply pay the process fee. The ABFM no longer offers a discount for full prepayment due to the complexities of accounting for the funds and the establishment of an appropriate discount rate in the current interest rate environment. Therefore, the only reason to prepay for the process is to fix the total cost and/or to match up with available CME funds.