Does my certification from the AOA count towards board certification?
Yes. Those physicians who have successfully completed an AOA-accredited residency, are currently certified by at least one AOA board and who have completed an ACGME-accredited fellowship in Addiction Medicine are eligible to apply to the ABPM for Certification in Addiction Medicine through the ACGME-accredited Fellowship Pathway.
Unfortunately, physicians who possess AOA board certification but have not successfully completed an ACGME-accredited fellowship in Addiction Medicine are not eligible to apply to the ABPM for Certification in Addiction Medicine. You may review the requirements for Addiction Medicine Certification through the ACGME-Accredited Fellowship Pathway at https://www.theabpm.org/become-certified/subspecialties/addiction-medicine/
Is certification from Canada recognized for primary board certification?
Yes. Those physicians who have successfully completed an accredited residency in Canada, are currently certified by either the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (RCPSC) or the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC), and who have completed an ACGME-Accredited fellowship in Addiction Medicine are eligible to apply to the ABPM for Board Certification through the ACGME-Accredited Fellowship pathway.
Physicians who possess RCPSC or CFPC certification, but have not successfully completed an ACGME-Accredited fellowship in Addiction Medicine are not eligible to apply for ABPM Board Certification in Addiction Medicine. The requirements for Addiction Medicine certification through the ACGME-Accredited Fellowship Pathway may be reviewed at https://www.theabpm.org/become-certified/subspecialties/addiction-medicine.
I have not maintained my primary ABMS board certification. I am still certified in my subspecialty. Am I still eligible to apply for board certification?
Current ABMS board certification is a core requirement for applicants applying through the Practice Pathway for Addiction Medicine Certification.
The ABPM has expanded the eligibility requirements for certification in Addiction Medicine to include physicians certified by the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM) who formerly were also certified by at least one ABMS Member Board but who no longer hold current ABMS board certification. Applicants holding ABAM certification should apply through the ABAM pathway.
To be eligible, physicians must be: (i) currently certified by ABAM; (ii) current with ABAM’s Transitional Maintenance of Certification program and (iii) have previously possessed underlying primary certification from at least one ABMS Member Board. Physicians who never obtained primary ABMS Member Board certification or who lost primary ABMS Member Board certification as the result of disciplinary action, or who may have surrendered a medical license in lieu of or otherwise to avoid the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against the license are not eligible for this expanded Pathway. The application cycle is open until mid-July of the application year. Approved applicants will have three years of exam eligibility.
I am currently certified by ABAM and/or ASAM. Can I become certified or recertify through ABPM?
ABPM is offering an expedited Pathway for current ABAM Diplomates to certify with an ABMS member board. To be eligible, physicians must be: (i) currently certified by ABAM; (ii) current with ABAM’s Transitional Maintenance of Certification program and (iii) have current or possessed underlying primary certification from at least one ABMS Member Board. Physicians who never obtained primary ABMS Member Board certification or who lost primary ABMS Member Board certification as the result of disciplinary action, or who may have surrendered a medical license in lieu of or otherwise to avoid the possibility of disciplinary action being taken against the license are not eligible for this expanded Pathway. The expanded Pathway is open through the end of the 2021 application cycle (mid-July 2021). Approved applicants have three years to sit for the initial certifying exam.
ABPM will seek verification of the current participation status of ABAM Diplomate applicants. Approved applicants applying through the ABAM Pathway will be required to take the ABPM Addiction Medicine initial certifying exam. Approved applicants will receive an email notification with instructions to register for the exam.
For a full list of the requirements for ABPM certification, please review our website at https://www.theabpm.org/become-certified/subspecialties/addiction-medicine/table/.
Is there a special provision for 2015 ABAM Examination Diplomates?
For physicians who passed the 2015 ABAM examination and who, upon review of their application, meet the ABPM requirements, the ABPM Addiction Medicine Initial certifying exam will be waived and certification will be conferred following usual procedures. ABPM requires ABAM diplomates to have current or prior ABMS certification and current ABAM certification which includes compliance with the Transitional Continuous Certification Program (TraCC).
The ABAM 2015 waiver applies only to individuals who passed the 2015 ABAM and who meet the other eligibility requirements. This waiver is available through the 2021 application cycle. Certification may be conferred following usual procedures, with an effective date of January 1, 2022.
I am ABAM certified. Is there a deadline to apply for Addiction Medicine certification with ABAM certification?
The ABAM Pathway will be available through the 2021 application cycle. Applicants with current ABAM certification are eligible to apply through the ABAM pathway through the 2021 application cycle ending July 15, 2021. Beginning in 2022, physicians seeking certification in Addiction Medicine may apply through the ACGME-Accredited Fellowship pathway or the Practice pathway. The Practice pathway will remain open through the 2025 application cycle.
Approved applicants will be eligible to sit for the board exam for three years beginning the year their application was approved. Applicants whose Addiction Medicine application was approved in 2021 will be eligible to sit for the exam in 2021, 2022 and 2023. The ABPM Addiction Medicine initial certifying exam will be given annually throughout this period.
Applicants may review the Addiction Medicine Requirements table to compare the application pathways at https://www.theabpm.org/become-certified/subspecialties/addiction-medicine/table/.
If I do not apply for ABPM Certification in Addiction Medicine this year, will I be able to apply later?
The ABAM Pathway for applicants with current ABAM certification is open through the 2021 application cycle ending July 15, 2021.
Beginning in 2022, applicants seeking certification in Addiction Medicine must apply through the ACGME-accredited Fellowship Pathway or the Practice Pathway. To qualify through the ACGME-accredited Fellowship pathway, applicants must successfully complete an ACGME-accredited Addiction Medicine Fellowship. Applicants seeking to apply practice experience or who have completed an ACAAM (formerly TAMF) Addiction Medicine Fellowship may apply through the Practice Pathway. The Practice Pathway will be open through the 2025 application cycle.
My state medical license was restricted when I entered an addiction treatment program required by my state medical board, and I have complied with all the requirements of my state medical board. Do those license restrictions for medical reasons prevent me from applying to ABPM for Certification in Addiction Medicine?
A physician who has voluntarily entered into a rehabilitation program for chemical dependency/addiction/substance use disorder or a practice improvement plan with the approval of a state medical board shall not be considered to have a restriction on his/her license to practice medicine for the purposes of applying to ABPM for Certification in Addiction Medicine.
What type of information is required for a Practice Pathway application?
Applicants applying through the Practice Pathway for Addiction Medicine should select from the drop-down menu the practice activities that are applicable to the applicant’s practice and include a specific, detailed description.
Applicants should provide detail about Addiction Medicine-specific practice that is separate from and in addition to general practice. Only 480 hours of general practice activities can count towards the required 1920 hours to be eligible for Certification. Inpatient practice of subspecialty-level Addiction Medicine-specific activities should be listed separately from outpatient subspecialty-level Addiction Medicine-specific activities and the number of hours per week for each activity should be listed separately, including when that activity started and if there have been any increases or decreases in that number of hours during the time listed and when the change occurred.
Applicants with a buprenorphine practice should be listed separately. The applicant needs to describe how many hours per week are spent prescribing buprenorphine, when that activity started and if there have been any increases or decreases in that number of hours over the course of the prescribing period and when the changes occurred, and how many patients are being treated and if that has changed and when.
If applicable, applicants including educational activities that are Addiction Medicine-specific should provide a detailed explanation of the courses taught, what curricula have been developed that are specific to addiction, and any clinical teaching that occurs in the buprenorphine clinic, along with the appropriate number of hours per week or month for each activity.
The ABPM staff prepared the attached PowerPoint to assist applicants in completing the Addiction Medicine Practice Pathway application. ADM – Practice Pathway application.
For the Practice Pathway, what type of practice may I count towards my required 1920 hours?
Time spent working as the primary decision-maker providing direct patient care in the specialty practice of Addiction Medicine counts toward the Practice Pathway. Practice Pathway settings may include office-based opioid treatment program prescribing buprenorphine; working in a methadone maintenance clinic, providing medically managed withdrawal treatment from alcohol, sedatives, opioids, or other substances; hospital-based addiction consultation services (consultation-liaison service); medical director of a residential addiction treatment program and other settings.
In addition, documentation of Addiction Medicine teaching, research and administration activities, as well as clinical care or prevention of, or treatment of, individuals who are at risk for or have a substance use disorder may be considered as practice hours.
Is it possible to fulfill a portion of the Practice Pathway requirements during my residency? Would the ABPM be willing to allow me to satisfy the requirements through electives, research, or other means?
ABPM does not provide credit for hours concurrent with a Residency or a Non-Addiction Medicine Fellowship. Electives may not count towards the requirements for the Practice Pathway.
Do all of my practice hours need to be in the setting of compensated work? I am very committed to volunteer work and serving traditionally underserved populations.
Non-compensated or volunteer work will count towards the total required practice time, as long as the applicant is functioning as the primary decision-maker providing direct patient care. Time spent just observing (shadowing) without primary decision-making responsibility for patient care does not count towards the 1920 hours. These activities must be verified with appropriate documentation/letters of support.
In addition to direct patient care, how many "practice hours" can be attributed to medication-assisted addiction treatment program management (for example, reviewing outcomes or implementing quality measures)? How many "practice hours" can be attributed to research activities?
Addiction Medicine practice outside of direct patient care including research and/or administration and/or teaching activities – may count for a combined maximum of 75% (or 1440 hours) of the total required minimum practice time of 1920 hours. Documentation of work in these areas will require submission of product or independent verification of activity, such as: published paper, list of lectures, etc. Applicants must demonstrate a minimum of 25% (or 480 hours) as “Direct Patient Care”.
Can you clarify what constitutes 25% of a general practice?
An applicant may count up to 25% of a general practice (e.g., FM, IM, EM, etc.) with a general statement that this proportion of their practice is treating addicted patients. This 25% applies to the 1920 hours in total (480 hrs), not 480 hours each year. You cannot meet the total requirements in general practice. An applicant may offer an additional percentage of their practice as an addiction medicine practice, but the documentation of that practice would be the responsibility of the applicant and subject to verification and acceptance by the ABPM. An applicant must have 75% (1440 hours) documented in the specialty practice of Addiction Medicine (as patient care, administration, research, and/or teaching) separate from general practice.
I spent one month shadowing (observing) an Addiction Medicine physician in a residential addiction treatment program near my private general practice. Will I be able to count this towards the Practice Pathway?
No, observation or “shadowing”—even in the specialty of Addiction Medicine—without “hands-on” patient care for which you are the primary provider, does not count towards fulfilling the requirements for the Practice Pathway. Only direct patient care specifically in Addiction Medicine for which you are the primary provider counts towards the 1920 hours required for the Practice Pathway
I worked 100% in Addiction Medicine for one month. How many hours should I count toward the practice requirement?
Report the number of hours spent during that month in direct patient care, administration, or research during this experience.
I attended the ASAM (American Society of Addiction Medicine) Fundamentals of Addiction Medicine day-long CME course for 8 hours of CME credit, and I attended the ASAM Annual Conference for 2 days with a total of 25 CME credits earned. May I claim this CME effort towards the Practice Pathway?
ABPM supports the commitment to lifelong learning embodied in CME/MOC activities. ABPM does not count CME/MOC activities towards the accumulation of practice hours required for the Practice Pathway application for the ABPM Addiction Medicine initial certifying exam.
Can my practice partner write the verification letter documenting my Addiction Medicine Practice for the Practice Pathway?
No, the letter for documentation and verification of Addiction Medicine Practice for the Practice Pathway cannot be written by a practice partner, even one Certified by the ABPM in Addiction Medicine. The verification letter must come from an independent supervising physician, such as a Chief of Staff, Department Chair, or Fellowship Director. If there is no independent supervising physician that meets these criteria, then the applicant must provide documentation for consideration by ABPM the credentials of the individual who will provide the letter of verification for the applicant. The ABPM will make the final determination of the suitability of the individual providing the letter of verification.
I work in a private outpatient general practice and I also provide rotating coverage with the other physicians on the inpatient unit at a local hospital, for an average of 48 hours per week over a six-month period. I estimate that around one-third of the patients I see between the two practice settings have problems due to addiction. Can I claim 33% of my effort in those settings (16 hours per week) towards the Practice Pathway for Addiction Medicine?
Up to 25% of the time spent in a General Practice (whether in Psychiatry, Internal medicine, Family Medicine, Pediatrics, etc.) can be counted towards the required 1920 hours spent in the practice of Addiction Medicine. In the example above, only 12 hours per week (25% of 48 hours/week) would count towards the Practice Pathway.
Can CME credits count towards fulfilling the requirements for the Practice Pathway?
CME credit, even in the subspecialty of Addiction Medicine does not count towards fulfilling the requirements for the Practice Pathway. The required 1920 hours may only consist of direct patient care, research, training and administration specifically in Addiction Medicine.
What is the application review process for the Addiction Medicine Practice Pathway?
All applications are reviewed by physicians Certified by the ABPM in Addiction Medicine.
The application is an electronic process in which the applicant selects from a menu of dropdown activities. Applicants should select the activity or activities that most closely represent their practice. The application should also include a detailed description of activities, therapies, volumes of patients and list any prescriptive licenses held. The applicant will provide the average number of hours engaged in each activity per week. The system will generate an analysis of the hours as a guide for applicants.
Upon submission of an application, ABPM Staff will conduct all degree, license and board verifications. ABPM Staff will review applications to ensure all required practice verifications and letters of reference have been received. Completed applications will be submitted to the physician board reviewer(s) for further review. The physician reviewer(s) will review the descriptions, verifications, references and will evaluate the hours. The physician board reviewer(s) will render a decision or may request additional information. Applicants will be notified of decisions or requests for additional information via email. Applicants should monitor the status of their applications through the physician portal.
How long will it take to receive my application decision?
All applications will be reviewed only after the applications have been completed, including ABPM’s receipt of all required verifications, practice verifications and letters of reference. Applicants who complete applications submitted prior to May will likely receive a decision within 2 to 4 weeks of submission.
Completed applications submitted in June tend to take longer to review due to the volume of applications being received during this time period. Applicants who complete applications submitted in this timeframe will likely receive a decision 4 to 6 weeks after submission.
All required supporting materials and documentation must be submitted to ABPM by July 31, 2021. Incomplete applications or applications with missing documentation after the deadline of July 31, 2021, may be subject to closure as a voluntary withdrawal.
We encourage you to track your application through the physician portal and maintain contact with your verifiers and references to ensure the supporting documentation is received by the ABPM in a timely manner.
During my Critical Care Medicine fellowship, I worked also as the Addiction Medicine expert for Critical Care and led an effort to implement an alcohol withdrawal treatment protocol in the SICU. I studied the effort and published a paper. My effort was 15 hours per week on average. Will I be able to count this towards the Practice Pathway?
ABPM does not provide credit for any time spent in non-Addiction Medicine fellowships. Elective rotations completed during a residency do not count towards the practice hours requirements of the Practice Pathway
Can I apply if I completed a non-ACGME Fellowship in Addiction Medicine, such as those accredited through ACAAM (formerly TAMF)?
Applicants who have completed existing fellowships that are not ACGME-accredited will be given consideration by the ABPM through the Practice Pathway. Credit for completion of training in a non-ACGME accredited Addiction Medicine fellowship program may be substituted for the Practice Time Requirement. A list of Addiction Medicine fellowships may be found on the ACAAM (formerly TAMF) website at https://www.acaam.org.
The applicant must successfully complete an Addiction Medicine fellowship of at least 12 months that is acceptable to the ABPM. Fellowship training of less than 12 months may be applied towards the Time in Practice hour requirements of the Practice Pathway. The fellowship training curriculum as well as a description of the actual training experience must also be submitted for final approval by the Board.
Where can I obtain information about an Addiction Medicine Fellowship?
ACGME-accredited Addiction Medicine Fellowships are currently available. A list of all ACGME-accredited fellowships is available at the American College of American Addiction Medicine (ACAAM) website at https://www.acaam.org/accreditedfellowships/.
How do I register for the ABPM Addiction Medicine initial certification exam?
Approved applicants may register for the ABPM Addiction Medicine initial certifying exam by visiting the ABPM’s Physician Portal at http://certification.theabpm.org/login and clicking the “register now” button.
What are the Transitional Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements for Diplomates Certified by the ABPM for Addiction Medicine?
You may find all of the ABPM’s Transitional MOC requirements by clicking on the link below:
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|An MPH Degree?*|
|An ABMS Board Certification|
|Practice Years Required||3||3||4||5||6||8|
Credentials: MPH Degree, An ABMS Board Certification
Practice Years Required: 3
Credentials: Residency, An ABMS Board Certification
Practice Years Required: 3
Credentials: MPH Degree
Practice Years Required: 4
Practice Years Required: 5
Credentials: An ABMS Board Certification
Practice Years Required: 6
Credentials: No MPH Degree, No ABMS Board Certification, No Residency
Practice Years Required: 8
*Without an MPH degree, you are still required to complete coursework (worth 3 credits each) in epidemiology, biostatistics, health services administration, environmental health sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. Total practice years refers to the amount of practice time in the specialty area for which certification is being sought.