Continuing medical education

 

Basic requirement for physicians and physician assistants

Exemptions from requirement

Maintenance of records

Frequently asked questions


Basic requirement for physicians and physician assistants

  • twenty-five (25) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ or equivalent annually (calendar year)
  • credits must be earned Jan. 1 - Dec. 31 of each year (grace period eliminated May 2012)
  • licensees are responsible for being familiar with and reading the Board rules concerning CME

Exemptions from requirement

You are exempt from the CME requirement if you:

  • do not reside in Alabama and do not practice in Alabama
  • are retired and have received a retirement waiver from the Board (if you are retired but do not have a waiver, you are still subject to the CME requirement)
  • received your initial license this calendar year
  • have applied for and received from the Board a disability waiver
  • are enrolled or were enrolled in a residency training program or clinical fellowship program during any part of this calendar year
  • are a member of any branch of the armed services of the United States and are deployed for military service; the exemption is for the calendar year in which you are deployed

Maintenance of records

  • licensees are required to maintain personal CME records for three years following the year in which the CME was earned
  • documentation is subject to examination by the Board upon request
  • adequate documentation consists of certificates of attendance, completion certificates, proof of registration, or similar documentation issued by the organization or entity sponsoring or conducting the continuing medical education program
  • the Physician Recognition Award alone is not sufficient documentation
  • do not send your CME certificates with your renewal application; you will be informed if the Board wishes to examine your documentation

Frequently asked questions

Q:  What are AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™?

A:  Credit for programs designated to confer AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ sponsored or conducted by entities accredited by the Council on Medical Education of the Medical Association of the State of Alabama or by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to sponsor or conduct Continuing Medical Education Programs that confer AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.  See the AMA's web page concerning CME.


Q:  What are "equivalent" credits?

A:  The following courses have been deemed by the Board and Commission to be equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™:

  • programs of continuing medical education designated as Category 1-A which are sponsored or conducted by organizations or entities accredited by the American Osteopathic Association to sponsor or conduct Category 1-A Continuing Medical Education for osteopathic physicians
  • programs of continuing medical education designated as a "prescribed hour" which are sponsored or conducted by organizations or entities accredited by the American Academy of Family Physicians to sponsor or conduct "prescribed hours" of continuing medical education
  • programs of continuing medical education designated as "cognates" which are sponsored or conducted by organizations or entities which are accredited by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology to sponsor or conduct approved cognates on obstetrical and gynecologic related subjects
  • documented attendance at grand rounds
  • programs of continuing medical education designated as such by the Alabama Board of Medical Examiners


Q:  Are there any other activities that confer Category 1 or equivalent credit?

A:  The 2010 revision of The Physician's Recognition Award and credit system provides for physicians to claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ directly from the AMA for the following activities (please review the booklet for full details):

  • teaching at a live activity accredited to confer Category 1 credits
  • publishing, as the lead author (first listed), a peer-reviewed article in a journal included in the MEDLINE bibliographic database
  • Preparing a poster presentation, as the first author, which is included in the published abstracts, at an accredited activity
  • obtaining a medically related advanced degree, such as a masters in public health
  • successfully completing an ABMS board certification or MoC process
  • successfully participating in an Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) accredited residency or fellowship program

To claim credit for these activities the physician should apply to the AMA for a certificate indicating the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ awarded for completion of each activity. Information and the direct credit application can be found at www.ama-assn.org/go/directcredit.


Q:  What activities do not confer the appropriate credits?

A:

  • some PALS, ACLS and ATLS courses are not accredited to confer Category 1 credit
  • teaching medical students
  • preceptoring nurses or other healthcare providers
  • some board certification exam review courses
  • journal quizzes that are not turned in for credit
  • many Botox, laser and aesthetic procedure workshops are not accredited

If in doubt, check with the provider of the activity before taking the course.  Also see the AMA's CME frequently asked questions page.


Q:  How does the Board check compliance?

A:  A random audit of physicians is completed annually. Chosen physicians will receive a letter requesting documentation of having met the requirement or of exemption. A full audit of physician assistants is performed annually. Do not send CME documentation to the Board unless you have been requested to do so.


Q:  What happens to licensees who do not have documentation of having met the requirement?

A:  The Board has the authority to file formal charges with the Medical Licensure Commission on an unprofessional conduct ground and to seek penalties such as reprimands and fines.


Q:  How does an organization become a CME provider?

A:  The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) accredit providers to confer AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

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