The American Academy of Family Physicians recently approved measures that will simplify CME requirements for Academy members. Previously, AAFP physicians could claim a maximum number of credits for self-directed individual activities (i.e., published research, clinical research, paper presentations, exhibit presentations, medical writing, peer review, and writing test questions).
However, effective immediately, these activities may be reported as “scholarly activities” and will quality for AAFP Prescribed credit. A maximum of 100 credits in this area can be claimed by members in each three-year re-election cycle.
Members can earn CME credit in formal and informal categories. Formal CME includes activities that have been certified by the AAFP for Prescribed or Elective Credit, while Informal CME includes self-directed learning activities that are not certified for credit.
Amy Smith, MBA, AAFP senior manager of CME credit systems and compliance, notes that “We didn’t take away members’ ability to claim credit for the scholarly pursuit of knowledge; we reduced the complexity of how members report this information.” Director of the AAFP’s membership division, Elaine Conrad, stated “This effort is intended simply to make things easier for members by streamlining requirements.”
AAFP CME Requirement
As a condition of continued membership in AAFP, active members and supporting FP members are mandated to report a minimum of 150 credits of approved CME every three calendar years, also known as a “re-election cycle.” CME credits must be reported in the year in which they were earned. Of the 150 credits, at least 75 of them must be AAFP Prescribed credits.
Current AAFP CME requirements call for members to obtain a minimum of 25 credits from live learning activities every three years. A live activity must be held in real time, include two or more people and offer either Prescribed or Elective credit. Some examples of live activities include medical seminars or conferences (i.e., AAFP clinical courses, lecture series, live webinars, or life support activities – advanced cardiovascular life support, advanced trauma life support, basic life support, pediatric advanced life support).
An exemption of 25 credits from live activities is allowed for members who submit evidence that they are providing medical care outside of the United States in a missionary/charitable practice setting for a period of longer than twelve months.
Teaching also counts as a live activity, and members are permitted to report a maximum of sixty AAFP Prescribed credits every three years for teaching health professionals.
There are maximum credit allowances for certain CME activities during the three-year re-election cycle, including:
- Professional Enrichment: limited to 25 AAFP Elective credits
- Published research: limited to 45 AAFP Prescribed credits (15 AAFP Prescribed credits per paper)
- Presentation or publication of a paper: limited to 30 AAFP Elective credits (10 AAFP Elective credits per paper)
- Preparation and presentation of a scientific medical exhibit: limited to 15 AAFP Elective credits
- Clinical research studies: limited to 30 AAFP Prescribed credits
- Teaching health professions: limited to 60 AAFP Prescribed credits
- Peer review of journal manuscripts: limited to 45 AAFP Prescribed credits (3 credits per manuscript)
- Writing test questions: limited to 30 AAFP Prescribed credits
- Advanced training: limited to 25 AAFP Prescribed credits
- ABFM or AOA Certification: limited to 25 AAFP Elective credits
- Medical writing: limited to 30 AAFP Elective credits
- Scholarly Activities: limited to 100 AAFP Prescribed credits