Diplomate FAQs

Note: ABFAS is transitioning its ten-year Maintenance of Certification programs to the LEAD program, a process of continuous certification based on a longitudinal assessment. All diplomates, regardless of certification year, will participate in the new program starting in 2022, and at that time ABFAS will no longer conduct recertification/self-assessment examinations. Learn more on the LEAD program webpage.

 

ABFAS provides answers to many frequently asked questions from diplomates. Have a question that is not listed here? Email us at info@abfas.org

 


General FAQs

  • How do I retrieve a lost password?

    You can retrieve your username and password by following the instructions on the ABFAS sign in page. 

    Sign-in with your ABFAS user name and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage.

    If you are unable to secure the information from the website, call ABFAS at 415.553.7800.

  • How do I add my office information under “Find a Surgeon?”

    Log into your personal profile, and update your directory address contact information.

    Sign-in with your ABFAS user name and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage. If you need password assistance, you will find it on the "Login" page.

     

Annual Fee

  • Can I pay my annual fee by credit card over the phone?

    We encourage you to pay online. In order to pay online, you will have to sign in to your profile page to make your payment.

    Sign-in with your ABFAS user name and password using the "Login" button at the top of the webpage. If you need password assistance, you will find it on the "Login" page. 

    While you are logged into your personal profile, please verify your contact and licensure information, and confirm your agreement with the ABFAS privacy policy and advertising agreement.

    If you are unable to pay online, please call 415.553.7800.

  • When should I expect to receive my annual fee invoice?

    Annual fee invoices are available on your personal profile page in early July, and an email notification will be sent advising that the annual fee invoice is ready for payment.  ABFAS also mails physical paper invoices to the mailing address on file.

    If you wish to avoid a late fee of $100, you will have to pay all annual fees by September 1. If you do not pay your fee by Oct 31, ABFAS may revoke your board status.

    The annual fee for board qualified is $205.
    The annual fee for board certified is $350.


Membership

  • What types of foot and ankle surgeons does ABFAS certify?
    ABFAS has two types of candidates, Board Certified and Board Qualified.  Each candidate type has further distinctions:


    Board Certified:

    • Ambulatory: A podiatric surgeon who became certified by the American Board of Ambulatory Surgery board before it joined with ABFAS.

    • Foot and Ankle Surgery: A podiatric surgeon who became ABFAS certified before 1991.
    • Foot: A podiatric surgeon who has passed the ABFAS Part I and Part II foot surgery examinations, holds hospital privileges, and has an active license.
    • Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle (RRA): A podiatric surgeon who is certified in foot surgery and has also passed the ABFAS Part I and Part II RRA surgery examinations, holds hospital privileges, and has an active license.

    Board Certified podiatric surgeons are Diplomates of ABFAS.

    Board Qualified:

    • Foot: A podiatric surgeon who has passed the ABFAS Part I Foot surgery examinations, holds hospital privileges, and has an active license.

    • Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle (RRA): A podiatric surgeon who has passed the ABFAS Part I Foot surgery and has also passed the ABFAS Part I RRA surgery examinations, holds hospital privileges, and has an active license.
  • What are the different types of status an ABFAS candidate can have?

    TYPE

    Certified: Ambulatory, Foot and Ankle Surgery, Foot, Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle (RRA)

    Qualified: Foot, Reconstructive Rearfoot/Ankle (RRA)


    STATUS      

    Active: Engaged in the active practice of podiatry; has fulfilled all relevant exam requirements; maintains an active, unrestricted license; and holds current, active surgical privileges at a hospital or surgery center.

    Administrative: Engaged primarily in an administrative capacity directly related to the profession of podiatry.

    Expired: A board qualified or certified podiatric surgeon whose status has expired.

    Extension: A board qualified podiatric surgeon who has received an extension for the time period they can be qualified or a Diplomate who has been given additional time to recertify.

    Inactive: Not engaged in the active practice of podiatry.

    Incomplete: A podiatric surgeon who has taken and passed the ABFAS Board Qualification examinations but has not submitted the necessary documentation to become fully qualified. A podiatric surgeon has one year after passing the Board Qualification examinations to submit the required documentation. After one year, the podiatric surgeon is non-compliant with ABFAS board qualification policy.

    No Board Status: A podiatric surgeon who has graduated from, or is in their final year of, a CPME-approved residency program and who has not achieved ABFAS board status.

    Non-Compliant: A podiatric surgeon who has taken the necessary ABFAS Board Qualification examinations but did not submit all the required documentation within one year of passing the Board Qualification examinations. A board-certified podiatric surgeon holding foot and ankle certified status who is not compliant with ABFAS Maintenance of Certification (MOC) requirements.

    Surgically Inactive: Engaged in the active practice of podiatry but no longer has an active foot and ankle surgical practice; has fulfilled all relevant exam requirements; maintains an active, unrestricted license; and holds current, active privileges at a hospital or surgery center.

    Suspended: A board qualified or certified podiatric surgeon whose Foot status has expired and who has met the requirements for RRA qualification or certification. The Foot status must be active in order for the RRA status to be active as well.

    Resigned: Has voluntarily given up certification.

    Retired: An ABFAS Diplomate who has retired from active practice.

    Revoked:

    Administrative: Unrelated to any professional review action (e.g., non-payment of annual fee or special assessment).

    Legal: Upon professional review related to any of the following possibilities: misrepresents certification status or provides false information to ABFAS, has cheated on any ABFAS exam, or violates the Code of Ethics of the APMA, conviction of either a felony related to the delivery of a healthcare item or service or any offense that causes their license revocation.

    Please contact our verifications department if you have additional questions regarding suspended or revoked status.

    NOTE: ABFAS does not have a board eligible status.

     
  • My certification expired. How do I reestablish my board certified status with ABFAS?

    A former ABFAS member who has lost certification due to failing the recertification examination or having their certification expire can request a review by the Board of Directors to reestablish certification. Requirements are:

    • Proof of active, unrestricted medical license.
    • Documentation of one hundred (100) hours of continuing education credits within the last 24 months, of which sixty (60) hours must be in areas of foot and ankle surgery.
    • Proof of active hospital privileges commensurate with the level of recertification (foot and/or reconstructive rearfoot and ankle).
    • Payment of a special reestablishment fee of $1,000 and, upon successful completion of retaking the recertification exam, payment of all past due annual fees.

    If the Board of Directors approves the request to reestablish, the former member has three (3) opportunities within three (3) years to successfully complete the recertification examination. During this period, the former member will have no ABFAS status. 

    If a former member passes the recertification examination, they will be restored to their former status with membership dates and any required recertification dates restored as originally established. 

    If a former member is unsuccessful in passing the examination during the three (3) years, they must apply as a new candidate and meet all requirements in effect at the time of new application. A former member may exercise use of this policy only once. 

    This policy applies to all former members certified beginning in 1991 even if said members no longer meet the eligibility requirements (e.g., formerly Alternate Method or PSR-12 only) for access to board certification.

    See our Policies page for more information. 

  • My board certified status was revoked for not paying my annual fee. How do I reinstate my board certified status with ABFAS?

     A former member who was revoked for non-payment of annual fee may be reinstated if:

    • The member’s time-limited ABFAS certificate has not expired.
    • Submit documentation that they have met their state’s continuing education requirements.
    • Submit documentation of an active, unrestricted license.
    • Submit documentation of an active surgical hospital privileges.
    • The member pays all past due annual fees and late penalties for each year. There is no prorating of the annual fee.

    A former member who was revoked for non-administrative reasons, such as license revocation, must request to reestablish board certification in writing for Board of Directors approval. 

  • I have a retired status. How do I change it to active?

    A former member who has a “retired” status may be reinstated if:

    • The member’s time-limited ABFAS certificate has not expired.
    • The member can verify they have met their state’s continuing education requirements.
    • The member has an active, unrestricted license.
    • The member has active surgical hospital privileges.
    • The member has paid current annual fee.
  • I plan to retire from practice. How do I notify ABFAS?

    If a Diplomate has fully retired from practice they may request retired status with the board.  This request must be in writing either via email, letter, or fax and should contain the effective date of retirement.  Email: info@abfas.org, Fax: 415-553-7801

    Please note, ABFAS policies define a Certified – Retired member as “a member who has completely retired and does not actively practice podiatric surgery”.  Credentialing organizations requesting verification of board status will be given this information.  

    ABFAS Certified - Retired members are not required to pay an annual fee nor are they required to meet any other maintenance of certification requirements.  Certified - Retired members may not vote in ABFAS matters.


Certification

  • What is the difference between Board Qualified and Board Certified?

    Board Qualified status indicates that a podiatric surgeon has passed the Part I examination(s), holds hospital privileges, and has an active license. Individuals who are Board Qualified are not members of the ABFAS but are “in progress.”

    Board Certified status indicates that the podiatric surgeon has passed the Part II examination(s), holds hospital privileges, and has an active license. Individuals with Board Certified status are members of ABFAS. 

  • How will the cancellation of the 2021 Recertification and Self-assessment Examinations affect Diplomates whose certification or self-assessment cycle expires in 2021?
    Because of COVID-19’s impact on testing center capacity, ABFAS cancelled the 2021 Recertification and Self-assessment exams. Time-limited certificate Diplomates whose certification expires August 31, 2021 will participate in the pilot of the new Longitudinal Education and Assessment for Diplomates (LEAD) Continuous Certification program. Provided they meet all certification requirements, these Diplomates have a three-year extension of their certification, until August 31, 2024. Their status will show as “Certified – Extension,” with the expiration date August 31, 2024.  

    All ABFAS Board-Certified providers, including those granted extensions, will begin the new LEAD Continuous Certification program in 2022 and will need to participate in this program throughout their certification cycle. ABFAS will provide more information regarding Continuous Certification requirements later this year.
  • If I certified before 1991, what do I have to do to maintain certification?

    In order to maintain certification, you must complete a Self-assessment exam every 10 years.

    You may take the examination in the eighth, ninth, or 10th year following your initial certification and similarly every 10 years. For information about applying for recertification, see ABFAS Document 111  (Self-assessment Maintenance of Certification). See the Self-assessment Process page for more details.

  • I certified after 1991. How often do I recertify?

    You must recertify every 10 years. To provide adequate opportunity to recertify before your certification expires, you have a three-year window in which to pass the recertification examination. You may take the examination in the eighth, ninth, or 10th year following your initial certification and similarly every 10 years.

    There are additional Maintenance of Certification requirements regarding case logs and number of CE credit.

    For information about applying for recertification, see ABFAS Document 112 (Recertification Maintenance of Certification). See the Recertification Process page for more details.

  • Do the Foot and Ankle Orthopedic surgeons have to take a board certification test as well?

    Yes. The American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) offers a voluntary board certification. ABOS candidates undertake a Part I written examination and a Part II oral examination.


Certificates

  • How do I order a certificate?

    Please note that you must be certified to order a certificate. In recognition of achieving board certified status, ABFAS will provide newly certified Diplomates their first certificate at no charge.

    To order additional certificates, you can fill out a certificate order form. You can find the form online by signing on to your personal profile page and downloading the Additional Certificate order form in the left column. See the Promote Your Certification page for more details. 

  • I passed both the Foot and RRA certification exams, but I only received a certificate indicating I am Foot certified. Is this an error?

    If you achieve board certification in Foot and RRA in the same year, you will receive two separate certificates. The certificate vendor ships all Foot certificates first, then later sends the RRA certificates. Each year, there is a high volume of certificates to be personalized and framed; therefore, please allow up to 15 weeks for processing.


Exam Accommodations

  • I have a disability and need special accommodations when taking my exam(s). What do I need to do?

    If you need to request accommodations for your exams, follow these steps: First, read the instructions for completing the Request for Accommodations, then fill out the form and return to ABFAS for approval. For Spring exams, you must apply for special accommodations at least 60 days prior to your exam and at least 30 days prior for Part I exams.

    You'll find the instructions and the form here.


Fees

  • Where do my application, exam, and annual fees go?

    Application fees support ABFAS administrative costs, including the meetings and work of the four committees that develop the exams. ABFAS currently has 16 different exams that cover in-training didactic and CBPS, board qualification didactic and CBPS, board certification CBPS and Case Review, recertification didactic, and Self-assessment didactic.

    In 2018-19, ABFAS administered almost 6,000 individual exams. To prepare for this, each year approximately 135 ABFAS board certified members volunteer more than two weeks of their time to meet and review the current exams’ performance, develop new items for future exams, and strategize new exam processes. In addition, for Case Review, more than 115 ABFAS board certified members volunteer for three days (four to five if you include travel time) to review more than 6,900 procedures submitted for those seeking board certification. During the time all of the committees meet, the volunteers are not seeing patients or performing surgery, which means that they are giving up not only their time but their income to make sure that ABFAS exams are of the highest quality.

    ABFAS volunteers, staff, and part of your annual fee also support the Podiatry Residency Resource (PRR) program and the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) through the Residency Review Committee (RRC) and its residency program evaluation process (CREC) and the Joint Committee on the Recognition of Specialty Boards (JCRSB). And the one PRR staff member works out of the ABFAS facilities.

    As ABFAS is an independent organization that does not take industry sponsorship or funding like other associations, we appreciate all of your support and the value you put on the podiatric foot and ankle surgery profession and becoming ABFAS certified.

  • Are ABFAS fees used for lobbying?

    No. We only apply fees to administrative/operational costs.


Verification Credentialers

  • How do I obtain a self-verification of my ABFAS status?
    ABFAS provides one free self-verification of status per year for board qualified and board certified podiatric surgeons.

    If a verification of status is requested for credentialing purposes, a credentialer or organization must obtain a copy of the status verification through our website. ABFAS collects a $35 fee per verification report for credentialing organizations. 
  • What information is provided on an ABFAS verification report?

    Hospitals and other credentialing organizations pay for individual verifications of podiatric surgeons undergoing the ABFAS certification process. ABFAS does not release any information about passed or failed exams. The ABFAS verification report provides information about the DPM’s podiatric medical school graduation, completion of residency training, state licensure, and the DPM’s current board status and when that status was achieved and will expire. 

    In accordance with standards published by the National Committee for Quality Assurance and The Joint Commission ABFAS conducts primary source verification of the podiatric medical school graduation, completion of residency training, and state licensure for each ABFAS board certified and board qualified podiatric surgeon.