Patients throughout the United States are depending on family physicians to keep them and their communities safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. To make sure nothing pulls FPs' attention away from this crucial work, the AAFP is easing CME requirements for membership and extending the deadline for payment of dues.
The AAFP made these changes, which are effective immediately, at the same time the ABFM announced moves that allow family physicians to focus on patient care rather than Family Medicine Certification.
The Academy, which had earlier canceled all live, in-person CME events through May 31, 2020, announced these latest changes on March 30:
- Any members whose reelection cycle ends on Dec. 31, 2020, and who have not yet met the CME requirement will have an additional year to do so.
- Members whose reelection cycle ended on Dec. 31, 2019, now have until Dec. 31, 2020, to report CME earned before Dec. 31, 2019. This extends the previous deadline of May 5, 2020.
- Members now have until July 14, 2020, to pay dues for 2020.
Details, including answers to common questions, are available on a dedicated webpage that will be updated with further information.
Also on March 30, the ABFM announced changes to ensure family physicians do not lose ABFM certification if demands of the pandemic prevent them from participating in certification activities or the Family Medicine Certification Longitudinal Assessment this year. The organization also pledged to work with residents so they don't have to worry that keeping their attention on needs associated with the pandemic will jeopardize future board certification.
Among the ABFM's changes,
- diplomates with a three-year stage ending in 2020 now have a one-year extension to complete all stage requirements;
- first-quarter deadlines for those who are participating in the FMCLA are extended through June 15, 2020, and the organization expects to extend deadlines for subsequent quarters;
- diplomates in year 10 of their certification cycle who opted for a one-day exam will have an additional year to meet the exam requirement;
- diplomates who hold a Certificate of Added Qualifications with an exam deadline in 2020 will have an additional year to meet the exam requirement; and
- those facing financial hardship due to the pandemic will be able to delay payments.
More information about the ABFM's changes are available online.(www.theabfm.org)
AAFP EVP/CEO Douglas Henley, M.D., explained the Academy's latest response to the pandemic in a March 30 email to members.(3 page PDF)
"Between focusing on serving your patients and the cancellation of all live, in-person AAFP CME events through May 31, we want to make sure you have one less thing to worry about," Henley wrote. "We hope these changes provide you with the flexibility you need to remain an AAFP member."
Related AAFP News Coverage
Medicare Physicians' COVID-19 Payment Relief Is Underway
Accelerated and Advanced Payments Announced in Wake of AAFP Advocacy
More From AAFP
In the Trenches: COVID-19: The AAFP Is Working to Keep You Informed, Prepared