By Kurt Snyder, JD
Whenever a newbie to CME asks me for general advice on what to know as a CME provider, I frequently respond: “Don’t forget about the AMA requirements.” I admit, when I started in the profession, it took me awhile to understand the connection between the AMA and ACCME. Fortunately, the two entities have been collaborating in an effort to simplify and align the expectations for CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.
I have been to numerous CME provider conferences and many sessions cover the ACCME criteria, yet I rarely encounter sessions about the AMA requirements. Regardless, if you are a CME provider and you want your activities to be in compliance, you should be mindful of those as well.
As a friendly reminder, to certify educational activities for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, the sponsoring organization must:
(1) Be accredited by either the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or a recognized state medical society (SMS).
(2) Meet all requirements of both the AMA and their accreditor (ACCME or SMS).
How does one learn about the AMA requirements?
Not only should you have keen knowledge on the ACCME criteria, but you must supplement that by reviewing the AMA requirements on their website. Moreover, you will find that many of the AMA requirements are very specific in nature unlike the ACCME criteria. Personally, I make it a point to review the AMA requirements quarterly.
Where can you find the AMA requirements?
That is easy. You can find the AMA requirements at https://www.ama-assn.org/education/cme/ama-pra-credit-system. If you are familiar with the AMA requirements, you probably are aware of the “AMA PRA Booklet.” That is a great resource that has historically had very few changes over the past several years, though it has been updated and they have added some additional resources. As a result, if you are an experienced CME provider, it is time for you to look at the updated version.
Again, if you want to be in compliance as a CME provider, you should regularly review the material on the AMA website and incorporate those requirements into your staff training.
Although the website has a lot of great information, I find it a little challenging in the sense that you need to click on multiple links to fully appreciate the different requirements. Further, some of the documents are not dated so sometimes it is hard to know what is most current. For your convenience, I have provided a link to the resources below with a short description.
- AMA Physician’s Recognition Award and credit system booklet - This is the “bible” of AMA requirements.
- AMA PRA Credit System FAQs – Resource jam packed with important information in the form of 153 frequently asked questions. It is a great tool for debunking common CME myths to providing specific guidance on what providers need to do.
- AMA-ACCME alignment and simplification FAQs - This is a valuable resource, especially in the context of understanding some of the recent changes designed to align the rules from the respective entities.
- AMA/ACCME Glossary of Terms and Definitions - ACCME has been publishing this for some time but updates it routinely. It is a great place to refer beginners.
Since these rules are subject to change, make sure you have the latest version. Additionally, since many of the rules are up for interpretation, I encourage you to reach out to the respective organizations and ask for clarification if you have questions.