Certificates of Added Competence in Family Medicine

CAC graphic  

What are Certificates of Added Competence, and why should I apply?

Approved CAC domains of care in family medicine

How is competence in a CAC domain of care assessed?

How do I acquire a CAC?

Practice Eligible Route to CAC

How will the successful awarding of a CAC affect my credentials and designation?

Will I need to maintain my CAC?

When will other domains of care in family medicine be eligible for a CAC?

What are Certificates of Added Competence, and why should I apply?

The College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) is the professional home for family physicians who provide comprehensive, continuing care to their patients as well as family physicians who focus some or all of their practices in certain domains of care that help meet the needs of their patients and communities. While maintaining our pride as family physicians and the generalists that we are trained to be, we acknowledge that the delivery of family medicine services is evolving. Certificates of Added Competence (CACs) provide a means of recognizing those family physicians who have achieved a defined level of competence and commitment to maintenance. Members who hold CACs are valued resources to other family physicians and to our patients. The use of a CAC Special Designation denotes the achievement of a defined level of competence in the domain of the CAC and a commitment to its ongoing maintenance.

Approved CAC domains of care in family medicine 

  • Addiction Medicine
  • Care of the Elderly
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Enhanced Surgical Skills
  • Family Practice Anesthesia
  • Obstetrical Surgical Skills
  • Palliative Care
  • Sport and Exercise Medicine

How is competence in a CAC domain of care assessed?

The priority topics and key features for the assessment of competence were developed by the CFPC Working Groups on the Assessment of Competence in Care of the Elderly, Family Practice Anesthesia, Palliative Care, Sport and Exercise Medicine, and the Committee on Examinations – Emergency Medicine.

The goal of the priority topics and key features is to guide the in-training and summative assessment of domain-specific competencies required for awarding CACs, and to inform the curriculum and training development.  

Priority topics and key features for the assessment of competence in Category 1 enhanced skills programs:

How do I acquire a CAC? 

Emergency Medicine  

The only way to obtain the CCFP (EM) designation is through the Examination of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine. There are two eligibility routes for the exam: through accredited residency training programs or through practice (please click here for more information). There will be no other route to obtain a CAC in Emergency Medicine.

All candidates who successfully complete the Examination of Added Competence in Emergency Medicine will automatically receive a CAC in Emergency Medicine.  

Addiction Medicine | Care of the Elderly | Family Practice Anesthesia | Palliative Care | Sport and Exercise Medicine  

1. CAC through residency route
How do I acquire my CAC now that I have completed a Canadian residency program?
Graduates of accredited Category 1 programs who hold Certification in the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CCFP) are eligible for CACs and consequently will be granted the right to use their designations as long as they maintain their status as a CFPC member and ongoing Mainpro+® requirements.

All eligible candidates will be contacted via email and given an opportunity to apply for a CAC. A nominal application fee will be required at the time of application.

2. Practice eligible route
The College is currently working on outlining the requirements and application and assessment processes for the practice eligible route for CACs. The new practice eligible route is intended for those in practice—not presently working in the area of competence—who would like to acquire the skill set required to achieve a CAC without completing a residency program.

CACs awarded through the practice eligible route will be awarded based on a satisfactory demonstration of the competencies that have been defined as required for certification of this level of competence in family medicine. These competencies have been defined for each domain and they have been published here. The exact means by which these competencies can be assessed have not yet been developed but they will vary as they are adapted to physicians in practice.

We expect to have more concrete information in 2020. All new information and updates will be posted on our website and shared with our members via email.

Enhanced Surgical Skills | Obstetrical Surgical Skills  

The initial CACs (credentialing phase) will be awarded to family physicians who have previously acquired competencies deemed worthy of recognition in the approved domains through practice experience, successful completion of a residency training program and/or continuing professional development, and demonstrated leadership in the domain of the CAC. CACs will be awarded based on the credentials and documented evidence of added competence, as judged by a peer review committee process.

Online applications are currently available for Enhanced Surgical Skills and Obstetrical Surgical Skills. Applications will be accepted until June 30, 2020.

Family physicians who wish to apply and who qualify for a CAC must apply for consideration via an online application form through the CFPC member dashboard. For detailed eligibility requirements, please go to Eligibility Criteria for a Certificate of Added Competence (CAC).

The application fee for CACs through the leader route is $1,500.The CAC program is a revenue-neutral program, so fees are being set to recover costs only. The application fee is non-refundable and will be required and applied upon submission of the online application. Applications without payment will not be reviewed.

When will I know if my application for a CAC is successful?
Deliberations on applications will start in the second half of 2020; however, final decisions may not be confirmed or communicated until early 2021. Certified members will be recognized formally during the CFPC’s Convocation ceremony in conjunction with Family Medicine Forum.

How will the application review process work?
Applications from each domain of care will be reviewed by five-person peer review committees composed of a panel of CFPC members with direct experience in the domain of care of the application, a member from another CAC domain of care, and a member from a broad-based practice background. The panel will be supported in its work by a senior staff member from the Certification and Assessment Department at the College. The panel will review the presented evidence for each candidate, weigh and consider it appropriately, and arrive at a recommendation to award a CAC or not. Each recommendation will be forwarded to the CFPC’s Board of Examinations and Certification for a final review and decision.

Confirmed decisions will be communicated to the candidate. If a candidate wishes to appeal a decision, they will be able to do so following the same procedures outlined for appeals regarding the Certification Examination in Family Medicine. A full description of the appeal process can be found here.

How will the successful awarding of a CAC affect my credentials and practice?

A CAC credential is conferred by the CFPC in the form of a diploma that will be mailed to you. Upon receiving this credential, family physicians are authorized to use the CAC designation as long as they maintain their competence through continuing professional development (CPD).

CAC Special Designations recognize those family physicians who have achieved and maintain enhanced skills in certain domains of care. The designation is not intended to limit physicians’ comprehensive practices and it is not related to practice privileges or billing.

CAC Credential in  Designation
Addiction Medicine CCFP (AM) / MCFP (AM)
Care of the Elderly CCFP (COE) / MCFP (COE)
Emergency Medicine CCFP (EM) / MCFP (EM)
Enhanced Surgical Skills CCFP (ESS) / MCFP (ESS)
Family Practice Anesthesia CCFP (FPA) / MCFP (FPA)
Obstetrical Surgical Skills CCFP (OSS) / MCFP (OSS)
Palliative Care CCFP (PC) / MCFP (PC)
Sport and Exercise Medicine CCFP (SEM) / MCFP (SEM)

Please note: MCFP holders are eligible for CACs only through the one-time leader route (available only for a limited time when a new domain of care is approved for a CAC).

Will I need to maintain my CAC? 

After After the initial acquisition of a CAC credential, the ongoing use of the CAC designation requires the holder to be an active CFPC member in good standing who maintains their competence in the domain of care as a new, specifically identified part of their five-year Mainpro+ reporting cycle. If these requirements are not met, holders will forfeit the right to use the CAC designations as part of their credentials.

To maintain a CAC and the privilege of using the associated Special Designation, CAC holders will be required to earn and report at least 75 certified CPD credits related to their CAC domain of care in a five-year cycle. This credit requirement is encompassed within the standard Mainpro+ requirements of 250 CPD credits, including at least 125 certified credits, which is a component of maintaining the CCFP. An additional fee for Maintenance of Competence will be required for CAC holders and will be added to the annual membership fees. This fee will not be included in the initial CAC application fee.

The CFPC is currently updating the Mainpro+ platform to allow for the tracking of CPD related to CAC maintenance and is updating the Membership database to allow for the processing of the CAC fee. CAC holders will be provided ample notice before the formal CPD maintenance requirements for CACs and the associated annual fee are introduced.

If you have any questions about credit requirements, please contact CPD staff at [email protected] or 1-800-387-6197 ext. 560.

When will other domains of care in family medicine be eligible for CACs? 

Interest has been expressed in developing new CACs in additional domains of care in family medicine. Before committing to further development, the CFPC is taking time toto analyze the impact CACs have had on the College, its members, and on related jurisdictions. The CFPC is initiating this process and expects outcomes will be available in 2020.

If you have questions or need additional information, please write to [email protected].

 

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