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Family Doctors

Family doctors in the U. S. may hold either an M.D. or a D.O. degree. Physicians who specialize in family medicine must successfully complete an accredited three-year family medicine residency in the U. S. in addition to their medical degree. They are then eligible to sit for a board certification examination, which is required by most hospitals and health plans.

The American Board of Family Medicine requires its Diplomats to maintain certification through an ongoing process of continuing medical education, medical knowledge reviews, and repeating the board certification examination every 7 to 10 years. The American Osteopathic Board of Family Physicians requires its Diplomats to maintain certification and undergo the process of recertification every 8 years.

Residency program (graduate medical education):

In the course of a national matching course, newly graduated MDs enter into a residency course that is three to seven years or more of specialized training under the supervision of senior physician educators. The length of residency guidance varies based on the medical area of expertise chosen: family practice, internal medicine, and pediatrics, for example, require 3 years of training; general surgery requires 5 years. (Some refer to the first year of residency as an "internship"; the AMA no longer uses this term.)


One to three years of further schooling in a subspecialty is an preference for some physicians who want to become exceedingly specialized in a precise field, such as gastroenterology, a subspecialty of internal medicine and of pediatrics, or child and adolescent psychiatry, a subspecialty of psychiatry.

After undergraduate, medical school and graduate medical education (GME)

a general practitioner still must obtain a license to practice medicine from a state or province of the United States in which they are planning to practice. They apply for the permanent license after completing a series of exams and carrying out a bare minimum number of years of graduate medical education.

Education does not cease when physicians finalize their residency or fellowship schooling. Doctors continue to obtain credits for continuing medical education, and some states insist on a certain number of CME credits per year to ensure the doctor's knowledge and skills remain up to date. Ongoing medical education requirements differ by state, by professional organizations, and by hospital medical staff organizations.

Family physicians complete an undergraduate degree, medical school, and three more years of specialized medical residency training in the area of family medicine. Their residency training includes rotations in internal medicine, pediatrics, psychiatry, obstetrics-gynecology and geriatrics. The specialty focuses on treating the whole person, acknowledging the effects of all outside influences, through all stages of their life. Family physicians will see anyone with any problem, but are experts in common problems. Many family physicians deliver babies in addition to taking care of patients of all ages.

In order to become board certified, family physicians must complete a residency in family medicine, possess a full and unrestricted medical license, and take a written cognitive examination. The American Board of Family Medicine, as well as other specialty boards, is requiring additional participation in continuous learning and self-assessment to enhance clinical knowledge, expertise and skills. The Board has created a program called the "Maintenance of Certification Program for Family Physicians" (MC-FP) which will require family physicians to continuously demonstrate proficiency in four areas of clinical practice: professionalism, self-assessment, lifelong learning, cognitive expertise, and performance in practice. Three hundred hours of continuing medical education within the prior six years is also required to be eligible to sit for the exam.

ABFM MC-FP is a necessity that the ABFM believes encourages clinical excellence and profits both physicians along with their patients.

In order to meet the requirements of the “Maintenance of Certification Program for Family Physicians”, you’ll have to meet these requirements listed below:

(Phase 1)- Professionalism

Accomplishment of this element necessitates a currently valid, full, and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada and continuous compliance by means of the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct

(Phase 2)- Self-Assessment and Lifelong Learning

Accomplishment of this element necessitates completion of the required number of Self-Assessment Modules (SAMs) during the MC-FP cycle and completion of the required credits of Continuing Medical Education (CME)

(Phase 3)- Cognitive Expertise

Accomplishment of this element necessitates the victorius completion of the MC-FP examination

(Phase 4)- Performance in Practice

Accomplishment of this element necessitates completion of the required number of Performance in Practice Modules (PPMs) during the MC-FP cycle

In the ABFM MC-FP program, each practiced Diplomate must successfully conclude a sequence of modules in 3-year seperate windows, called "stages." Carrying out these requirements in a timely manner allows the Diplomate to uphold his or her certification status.

Failure to comply with the MC-FP time period will result in a re-entry fee; this process requires:

  • Completion of fifty (50) MC-FP points, which consists of:
  • A bare minimum of one (1) Self-Assessment Module (SAM)
  • A bare minimum of one (1) Part IV Module (PPM or approved alternative)
  • Other approved Part II or Part IV activities to achieve a bare minimum of 50 points
  • Achievement of one hundred fifty (150) credits of acceptable CME (minimum 50% Division I), obtained in the last three (3) years
  • Agreement with ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure, and Personal Conduct which also means holding a currently valid, full and unrestricted license to practice medicine in the United States or Canada
  • Submission of three (3) MC-FP Process Payments;
    • one (1) payment at the beginning of each module
    • Submission of application and accompanying full examination fee for the MC-FP Examination
    • Victorious completion of the MC-FP Examination


Family medicine is a medical specialty devoted to comprehensive health care for people of all ages; the specialist is named a family physician, family doctor, or formerly a family practitioner. It is a division of primary care that provides comprehensive health care for the individual and entire family regardless of age, gender, or disease. It is based on knowledge of the patient in the context of the family and the community, emphasizing disease prevention and health promotion. According to the World Organization of Family Doctors, the aim of family medicine is to provide personal, comprehensive and continuing care for the individual in the setting of the family and the community. The issues of values essential to this practice are usually known as primary care ethics.

With our family medicine doctors, our doctors are educated to care for patients of all ages, from childhood through the closing stages of life. We encourage the idea of a Medical Home, emphasizing a unremitting connection with a personal physician coordinating concern for both wellness and health problem. We believe that knowing you over many years, and knowing your family, helps us comprehend how your health care impacts your life.

Despite further specialties that are restricted to a meticulous organ or condition, family medicine integrates care for patients, regardless of both genders in addition to every age, and advocates for the patient in a complex health care system.

Educated in all regions of medicine, family physicians can analyze and care for the full range of problems people typically convey to their doctors. They know how to care for you and, if needed, when to bring in another specialist you can trust.

Most prominently, your family physician is educated to provide wide-ranging care throughout all the phases of your life. They take care of the physical, psychological and emotional health for both of their patients and their patients' families and they know your family's health description and how it can have an effect on you.

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