ABFAS Update on COVID-19

As the nation continues to watch the COVID-19 situation unfold, the preventative measures only bring uncertainty to our society.  In response to these measures, many of us will have to adjust our daily lives and normal practices for the safety of ourselves, our loved ones, and our community. ABFAS will be doing the same, while we closely monitor the COVID-19 advisories from the US. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local public health authorities.

 
Our Office


Our offices are operating remotely.  We expect to conduct business as usual and will continue to respond to phone calls and emails from our remote locations.


Our Examinations


COVID-19 Restrictions Limit Testing Seats for Spring Exams

Pearson VUE testing centers are at half capacity due to COVID-19 restrictions.  More testing seats are expected to open as local restrictions are lifted. Meanwhile, do not use the Consecutive Appointment feature to schedule multiple exams back-to-back. Instead, schedule each exam independently.  You may contact Pearson VUE for assistance at 800-511-6951 Mon–Fri, 7:00 a.m.–7:00 p.m. CT. If you need further help please email us at scheduling@abfas.org. We’ll do everything we can to get you scheduled.

 


Recertification and Self-assessment Examination Cancellations

During this last year, ABFAS has had to make a number of adjustments to ABFAS examination timing due to COVID-19 impacts. 2021 is the year that ABFAS is piloting the new Continuous Certification program with the goal of implementing the new program in 2022. In recognition of these factors, the ABFAS Board of Directors has decided to cancel the 2021 Self-assessment and Recertification exams. We have communicated directly with those Diplomates who are affected by this change. If you did not receive the email communications, please contact our office.

 

Pearson VUE’s Test Centers

 

Pearson VUE’s commitment to the health and safety of candidates and their employees is shared in their Coronavirus Update page.  Please continue to check  this page for any changes in scheduling or policies in specific regions.  There is also additional information to help candidates with scheduling, rescheduling, and canceling exams during this time.

 If you have any questions about exam scheduling, rescheduling or canceling, please refer to the Pearson VUE’s Coronavirus Update page  You can also contact them directly at 800.511.6951 or click here for online assistance Monday - Friday, 7:00 am - 7:00 pm Central Time. 

Appointment Changes Due to Social Distancing Restrictions

If you receive an email from the Pearson VUE testing center indicating that your upcoming ABFAS exam appointment has been changed, this is due to COVID social distancing restrictions or a change at the test center. In lieu of canceling your appointment, Pearson VUE will temporarily move your appointment date 30 days out and assign a placeholder test center which will appear with no location on your Pearson Exam Appointment Details page.  This will allow you time to reschedule your exam appointment to a preferred date/time and location.

 In order to confirm a test date and location, you must reschedule your appointments. Please do one of the following: 

  • Log into your ABFAS profile and reschedule your appointment(s).
  • Contact  Pearson VUE at 800-511-6951 for assistance with rescheduling. You can also reschedule by going to pearsonvue.com.    

Please also refer to these step-by-step instructions that will guide you through the process of rescheduling your exam with Pearson VUE.

 


Partnerships

 

Due in part to the lobbying efforts highlighted below, the US Department of Homeland Security Cybersecurity & Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) has updated its guidance and now explicitly includes podiatric physicians in its definition of essential critical infrastructure workers  during the COVID-19 emergency.  Here is the relevant text.

Health-care providers including, but not limited to, physicians (MD/DO/DPM); dentists; psychologists; midlevel practitioners; nurses; assistants and aids; infection control and quality assurance personnel; phlebotomists; pharmacists; physical, respiratory, speech and occupational therapists and assistants; social workers; optometrists; speech pathologists; chiropractors; diagnostic and therapeutic technicians; and radiology technologists.”

Read the full CISA memorandum and guidance

ABFAS joined with other podiatric associations in sending a letter of support urging the country’s governors to temporarily relax scope-of-practice standards for doctors of podiatric medicine immediately, allowing podiatrists to help on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis.

 

The American Podiatric Medical Association, American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, American Board of Podiatric Medicine, and the American College of Podiatric Medicine were the other joint signatories to the letter asking the governors to support podiatric physicians’ and surgeons’ voluntary contributions to their level of education, training, experience, and expertise during this difficult time.

 

You can read the letter here.

 

Resources

American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS)

The American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons (ACFAS) has created a resource to keep you informed during this time.  This page contains information you may need to help you in your practice, including position statements, practice management tip sheets, information on ACFAS OnDemand, tips for communicating with your patients, and information for students and residents to access ACFAS online resources.

American Podiatric Medical Association (APMA)
American Society of Podiatric Surgeons (ASPS)

APMA and ASPS have added COVID-19 resource pages for its members. The landing page provides information on telehealth and small business assistance. These resources include a  relief plan for DPMs to address the financial impact of their office closures.  

Federation of Podiatric Medical Boards (FPMB)

 

FPMB has created a COVID-19 resource for foot and ankle surgeons.  This webpage contains important national emergency information, pertinent state links that contain local guidance,  and any additional information provided from state podiatry/medical boards.


American Academy of Dermatology


The American Academy of Dermatology is studying the dermatologic manifestations of the COVID-19 virus and needs your help.  The association is asking all health care professionals who have provided care for COVID-19 patients who develop dermatologic manifestations and/or dermatology patients with an existing condition who develop COVID-19 to fill out this survey.

 

This registry is a collaborative effort and depends on the active participation of the international healthcare community.  Please share this site with your colleagues and encourage them to report any cases of COVID-19 dermatoses.