Authored by Revere Health

What Does it Mean to Have a Board-Certified Doctor?

June 10, 2016 | Family Medicine

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Of course you want to partner with a doctor you trust, and it probably won’t surprise you to learn that a Great Britain study found that physicians represent the most-trusted profession in the eyes of the public. But you might not know how important this trust level is to your health. It makes you:

  • More likely to follow your treatment plan
  • More inclined to try new drugs
  • More willing to share important medical information
  • More invested in using preventative measures such as regular wellness exams and health screenings
  • Better able to control chronic problems like high blood sugar, hypertension and high cholesterol

One of the best ways to find a doctor worthy of your trust is to look for the Board Certification credential.

What does “Board Certified in Family Medicine” mean?

Following medical school, family practice doctors complete a three-year family practice residency in a Family Medicine residency program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). This program includes rotations in inpatient and outpatient settings where doctors receive training in several major medical areas and patient populations. They are then qualified to take the American Board of Family Medicine MC-FP Examination for initial certification.

Some board-certified physicians choose to become certified in a particular subspecialty. This requires additional training. These areas include:

  • Adolescent Medicine
  • Geriatric Medicine
  • Hospice and Palliative Medicine
  • Pain Medicine
  • Sleep Medicine
  • Sports Medicine

Following medical school, family practice doctors complete a 3-year family practice residency in a program accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

How do doctors maintain board certification?

Unlike earlier decades in which a physician passed a test just once early in his or her career and carried the “board-certified” designation for life, doctors working in today’s complex health care system are held to a much higher standard of accountability that requires ongoing retesting to retain the certificate.

ABFM MC-FP is a requirement that the ABFM believes encourages clinical excellence and benefits both physicians and their patients.”

The Maintenance of Certification for Family Physicians (MC-FP) process provided by the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) follows a process designed by The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) called Maintenance of Certification.

Each of the four components is designed to assess important physician characteristics:

  1. Professionalism — Specialists must hold a valid, unrestricted medical license in the United States or Canada and continuous compliance with the ABFM Guidelines for Professionalism, Licensure and Personal Conduct.
  2. Self-assessment and lifelong learning — Physicians must participate in educational and self-assessment programs that meet specialty-specific standards set by member boards.
  3. Cognitive expertise — Through testing, physicians must demonstrate that they have the fundamental, practice-related knowledge to provide quality care in their specialty.
  4. Performance in practice — Physicians must demonstrate that they can assess the quality of care they provide compared with peers and national benchmarks, and then apply the best evidence or consensus recommendations to improve that care using follow-up assessments.

This process emphasizes the importance of ongoing participation in activities that evaluate each of these components between recertification examinations. Each certified physician must successfully complete a series of modules in separate three-year time periods to maintain his or her certification status and be listed as board-certified on the ABFM website.

When seeking a new family doctor to entrust with your family’s health, by confirming that your candidate is board- certified, you are ensuring your family receives the very best medical care in Utah.

Would you like to partner with a Board-Certified Family Physician who you can trust to support your family’s wellness through all cycles of life? Revere Health family medicine specialists offer compassionate, patient-centered care in a broad range of disciplines including internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology and geriatrics.

As a physician, Dr. Tomco loves helping people through stressful times when they may be sick or hurt, and he aims to be an equal partner in decision making and give his patients all the information they need to feel empowered about caring for their health.


Dr. Abe Tomco


Dr. Abe Tomco

Dr. Abe Tomco at North Orem Family Medicine is ready to partner with you and empower you with healthy lifestyle habits to help you care for your body and prevent illness. Dr. Tomco’s motto is, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” and he loves sharing his passion for preventive medicine with children, adolescents, and adults.

Telehealth is not appropriate for every medical concern, so it’s important to ask your provider whether a virtual visit is suitable for your needs.

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This information is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. You should always consult your doctor before making decisions about your health.