New ABMS Policy Sets Time Limits for Physician Board Certification

Friday, March 9, 2012

The American Board of Medical Specialities (ABMS) recently announced that it has adopted a new policy that will require doctors to attain board certification within three (3) to seven (7) years after finishing residency. Prior to the establishment of this new rule, the period between training and board certification was undefined, and physician's had an indefinite amount of time to become board certified.

This new policy was created in order to diminish confusion created by the term "board eligible." This term has been used by credentialing organizations to identify those physicians who are in the process of becoming certified in a specialty. However, it can cause uncertainty about a physician who has been labeled "board eligible" for an extended period of time.

The 24 member boards of the ABMS are required to enact this policy by April 16, 2012, and define time limits for each speciality. For example, doctors seeking certification in neurosurgery will have seven (7) years to become board certified. If a doctor doesn't complete the certification in the time limit, the certification process will start over, which includes retaking the board's written exam and submitting 150 operative cases.

For physicians who have already begun the certification process, they will have to complete it between 2015 and 2019.


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