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ACEP COVID-19 Field Guide

Table of Contents

Licensure and Credentialing

Impact on Research, Education, Licensure, and Credentialing

Furloughs of residents and fellows

The ACGME has stated that furloughs (defined as an “involuntary and temporary separation of individuals from their employer without or at reduced salary and/or benefits as a result of pandemic-related reduction or cessation of patient care at one or more participating sites”) of residents and fellows is unacceptable. They also state that “when reductions or cessations of patient care are due to extraordinary circumstances necessitating program and/or institutional closure, sponsoring institutions and programs must adhere to ACGME policies, procedures, and requirements concerning withdrawal of accreditation, disasters, and institutional/program closures, as applicable.” Sponsoring institutions are expected to adhere to the conditions specified in resident and fellow contracts and to follow all institutional GME policies. 

United States Medical Licensing Examination

USMLE Suspending Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination

Given the issues with administration of the Step 2 CS exam this year, the National Board of Medical Examiners has suspended the administration of the test for the next 12-18 months. 

Additional information including weekly updates can be found on the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE) website and their FAQ page.

International

  • For foreign medical graduates, the USMLE has automatically extended eligibility periods to December 2020 for all examinees (regardless of the country in which they are testing) who had a USMLE Step 1, Step 2 CK, Step 3, or USMLE Practice Session scheduling permit with an unexpired eligibility period with an end date in 2020.
  • The Educational Commission for Foreign Medical Graduates (ECFMG) is issuing Interim Certificates to international medical graduates (IMGs) that have been matched to US residency positions, if their medical schools are unable to provide final medical education credentials due to COVID-19.
  • With many states waiving certain requirements for licensure or licensure renewal, state medical licensing authorities, hospitals, and other agencies needing assistance verifying the ECFMG certification status, credentials of IMGs, or USMLE exam information can contact casemanager@ecfmg.org.

Licensure

Certification

ABEM has:

  • Extended the grace period for 6 months for physicians whose certificates expire in 2020; 
  • Reduced the minimum training requirements to accommodate any 2-week period of quarantine without negatively affecting a resident’s board eligibility status; 
  • Relaxed deadlines for recent residency graduates pursuing initial certification in emergency medicine at the same time they are pursuing subspecialty certification; 
  • Waived administrative fees for refunds related to the cancelation of the spring exams;
  • Announced that the ABEM ConCert Exam will be available in an online, open-book format for summer and fall 2020; and
  • Announced that physicians with certification requirements due December 31, 2020 will have a relaxed requirement deadline (June 30, 2021) to complete them. 

ACEP board prep resources include PEER, which offers a free online pretest.

For ongoing, updated information, visit the ABEM website at abem.org.

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