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CME Frequently Asked Questions
Q. What is CME?
A. Continuing Medical Education (CME) consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public.
Q. Who is ACCME?
A. The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) is the overseeing body for institutions and organizations providing continuing medical education (CME) activities. The ACCME develops criteria for evaluation of both educational programs and their activities, accredits institutions and organizations and is responsible for assuring compliance with these standards. ACCME accredits AUA so that we are able to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
Q. Who is AMA?
A. The American Medical Association (AMA) authorizes organizations that are accredited by the ACCME, referred to as "accredited CME providers", to designate and award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to physicians. Much more information is available at ama-assn.org.
Q. What types of activities qualify for CME credit?
A. Continuing educational activities that assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently are activities that qualify for CME credit. A course in management would be appropriate CME for physicians responsible for managing a health care facility; a course in educational methodology would be appropriate CME for physicians teaching in a medical school; a course in practice management would be appropriate CME for practitioners interested in providing better service to patients. Examples of activity types include: live courses, internet live activities (live streaming), enduring materials (printed materials, CD-ROMs, audio CDs, DVDs, internet activities), manuscript reviews, and test item writing.
Q. How are CME credits determined?
A. The AUA reviews all activities requesting CME credits and assesses which portions of the program are eligible for credit. For every hour spent in a CME activity, learners receive 1 hour of CME credit, known as AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. CME hours are broken down in increments of 0.25 credits (15 minutes). Non-CME activities (breaks, business meetings, lunches, industry symposiums) are not counted toward CME credits. CME credits are always rounded down to the nearest 0.25 credit. For instance, a CME lecture lasting 3 hours and 40 minutes would equate to 3.5 credit hours.
Q. What is a Conflict of Interest (COI) and who should disclose?
A. A Conflict of Interest (COI) occurs when an individual has both a financial relationship with a commercial interest and the opportunity to affect the content of CME about the products or services of that commercial interest.
All individuals in a position to control the content of an educational activity (i.e., activity planners, presenters, authors) participating in an educational activity provided by the AUA are required to disclose any relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest. AUA also requires that the AUA Chair of Education and AUA Chair of the Content Review Workgroup disclose for every AUA CME activity.
Q. How do individuals participating in a CME activity disclose using the AUA web-based system?
A. Individuals participating in a CME activity must provide their disclosures.
Q. What is commercial support?
A. Commercial support is monetary, or in-kind, contributions given by a commercial interest, which is used to pay all or parts of the costs of a CME activity. There are extensive requirements for when commercial support is received and they are outlined in the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. The AUA ensures that commercial interests have no influence or control over the content of any educational activity. The AUA independently determines needs, educational objectives, all persons in a position to control the content, the educational methods and activity evaluations.
Q. What is Maintenance of Certification (MOC) and the relationship to CME?
A. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) is an initiative of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) aimed at insuring that physician specialists who are certified by one of the 24 member boards of the ABMS offer quality patient care through an ongoing process of self-improvement. MOC entails four basic components. Completion of these components allows Diplomates of the ABU to maintain their general certification in urology and any urologic subspecialty certification.
The components of MOC are:
- Professional standing (licensure and peer review)
- Lifelong learning (CME)
- An examination to determine basic knowledge
- Practice performance assessment (review of practice logs and Practice Assessment Protocols (PAPs))
Evidence of lifelong learning is shown by the completion of ninety hours of urology-focused CME credits, 30 hours of which must be Category 1 as defined by the AUA, twice during the 10-year MOC cycle. The credits are required at Level 2 and Level 4 of MOC and must take place in the three years prior to each deadline.
Q. What documentation does a participant receive for participating in a CME activity? How long must the AUA maintain participation records?
A. The AUA issues a certificate of CME credits for physicians or certificate of attendance for non-physicians at the completion of an educational activity. Records verifying participation will be maintained by the AUA for six years from the date of the activity.
Q. What is the difference between direct sponsorship, joint providership, and co-sponsorship?
A. The differences are:
- A direct sponsorship is an activity that is planned, implemented and evaluated by the accredited provider.
- A joint providership is an activity that is planned, implemented and evaluated by the accredited provider and a non-accredited entity.
- A co-sponsorship is an activity provided by two accredited providers if the primary body is awarding the credit. If your activity provides ACCME CME credits and credits from another accrediting provider (e.g. CEU credits from AAPC), it should be labeled as co-sponsorship. Both entities do not have to be ACCME accredited, however one must take on the role as a direct sponsor and is responsible for fulfilling all ACCME/AMA CME requirements. Always provide the ACCME accreditation statement in promotion and supplemental materials. Check with the other accrediting provider for their requirements.