Types of CME Credit
Prescribed credit is designated for those activities that are designed primarily for physicians with content directly related to patient care, patient care delivery or certain non-clinical topics. A family physician who is an Active or Life AAFP member must be directly involved in the planning of the activity.
Examples of Prescribed credit include:
- CME activities for which application has been made to the AAFP Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) and approved for AAFP Prescribed credit.
- Teaching medical students, residents, physicians, physician assistant students, physician assistants, nurse practitioner students, nurse practitioners, nursing students, or nurses in formal individual or live educational formats.
- Most life support courses (ALSO, ACLS, ATLS, BLS, NALS, PALS, etc.).
- Publication of original scientific or socioeconomic research pertaining to patient care, public or community health.
- AFP Journal Quizzes, and FPM Journal Quizzes.
- Most activities produced by AAFP
- Participation in clinical research studies including case reports, case series, systematic reviews, and other descriptive and experimental studies.
- Peer review of manuscripts for journals listed in Medline.
- Writing test questions for tests and/or examinations.
- Some Point of Care learning
- Activities designated as MAINPRO I or C by the College of Family Physicians of Canada.
The activity will be recorded as Elective credit usually with a generic title, "Formal Activity".
Are activities that receive AMA PRA category 1™ credit or AOA credit automatically considered Prescribed credit?
These activities are not automatically considered Prescribed credit. However, AMA PRA Category 1™ and AOA-approved activities are automatically accepted as Elective credit.
I reported CME earlier in the year and it was Prescribed credit. Subsequent activities by that CME provider are Elective. Why?
- The CME Provider may have requested accreditation for some activities and not others.
- Some providers choose to seek accreditation for a series of activities in monthly, quarterly or yearly increments.
You may always contact us at (800) 274-2237, email us at email@example.com to inquire about the status of the CME credit, or contact the CME provider.
- Review the AAFP CME Search page.
- Visit the American Family Physician and Family Practice Management quiz pages.
- Call the Contact Center at (800) 274-2237.
A Live activity is any activity involving two or more physicians occurring in "real time." Typically, these are traditional didactic courses occurring as single, multiple site/date, or series events. Broadcast and online activities, teleconferences, and e-mail “chat groups” can be in this category if they are conducted in “real time” and have an interactive component. When a videotape is the major educational element of a live activity, a physician moderator must be available to provide a planned opportunity for interaction among the physicians in attendance. AAFP members are required to obtain a minimum of 25 Prescribed and/or Elective credits every three years from Live learning activities.
- Medical seminars or conferences
- Lecture series
- Life support activities (ACLS, ATLS, BLS, NALS, PALS, etc.)
- Some Point of Care learning
- Live Internet activities
Activities not individually approved by the AAFP as Prescribed credit but which have been designed as category 1 credit for the AMA Physician's Recognition Award or are AOA-approved are automatically acceptable as AAFP Elective credit. Up to 25 credits per re-election cycle may be reported from activities that are not AMA PRA category 1TM or AOA-approved.
- Presentation or publication at AAFP, AAFP constituent chapter, or other medical society level of an original scientific or socioeconomic paper pertaining to medical care
- Enrichment activities (other medical educational experiences and activities including independent exam preparation, as well as informal self-learning activities. These activities may or may not be documentable)
- Preparation/presentation of scientific exhibits
- Activities approved for AMA PRA category 1TM credit
- Activities approved for AOA credit
- Programs that do not have family practice input and have been designed for non-physician health care professionals are eligible for Elective credit under "Enrichment" if they have medical education content of interest to family physicians.
- Taking a family practice board exam.
You may report a maximum of 60 Prescribed credits during a three-year re-election cycle for teaching medical students, residents, physicians, physician assistant students, physician assistants, nurse practitioner students, nurse practitioners, nursing students, or nurses in formal individual or live educational formats. Teaching is also considered a live activity.
Yes. In fact, the following Live activities are eligible for Prescribed credit: ACLS Provider (Advanced Cardiac Life Support), ACLS Instructor, ACLS Recertification, ATLS Student Course (Advanced Trauma Life Support), ATLS Student Refresher, ATLS Instructor, BLS Instructor (Basic Life Support), BLS Provider, Neonatal Resuscitation, PALS Provider (Pediatric Advanced Life Support), PALS Instructor, BDLS (Basic Disaster Life Support), and ADLS (Advanced Disaster Life Support).
Independent learning materials designed primarily for self-study CME activities. Printed materials, programmed texts, audiotapes, videotapes, slides, CD's, online, etc. which are used alone or in combination. They include education disseminated by teleconferences, broadcasts by satellite, online, or software. These independent learning materials must, in themselves, constitute a planned CME activity. Handout materials designed to accompany a live presentation are not considered enduring materials by themselves. Enduring materials are designed primarily as self-study activities that may be used over time with different mediums.
Examples may include:
- Non-live online activities
Enrichment credits are for educational activities that may or may not be documentable, are not AAFP-approved or produced by an ACCME-accredited institution or organization but are of a nature of professional enrichment. A maximum of 25 enrichment credits may be used toward your CME requirements in each re-election cycle.
Examples may include:
- Live credits - medical staff meetings, journal club, CPC, etc.
- Individual credits - journal readings and other informal self-learning activities, independent examination preparation.
Yes. Some examples include:
- Activities produced by proprietary entities such as pharmaceutical companies, medical device manufacturers, etc., or their agents
- Activities with a primary purpose of personal enrichment for the physician (e.g., life balance, estate planning, insurance and taxes)
- Activities which may be educational but are considered part of a physician's professional responsibility such as time spent in individual quality assurance and peer review activities, community/public educational activities, domestic and international voluntary service, and patient record review when it is not part of a formal quality improvement CME activity
- Viewing of technical or scientific exhibits or attendance at poster sessions;
- Audit conferences which are medical staff activities
- Programs that provide historical perspective of medicine unless the program shows relevance to current medical issues
- A portion of an activity/conference spent on tour
- Supplemental reading
- Enduring materials for which the term of approval has expired
- Activities that teach or promote therapies that are determined by the COCPD to be dangerous or proved ineffective
Effective January 2007, members may report up to 25 Elective credits for sitting for a family medicine board examination.
- Enrichment: limited to 25 Elective credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Publication of an original research paper: limited to 15 Prescribed credits per paper; 45 Prescribed credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Presentation or publication of a paper: limited to 10 Elective credits per paper; 30 Elective credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Preparation and presentation of a scientific medical exhibit: limited to 15 Elective credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Participation in clinical research studies including case reports, case series, systematic reviews and other descriptive and experimental studies: limited to 30 Prescribed credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Peer review manuscripts from journals listed in Medline: limited to 3 credits per manuscript limited to 15 credits during a three-year re-election cyle
- Teaching of medical students, residents, physicians, physician assistant students, physician assistants, nurse practitioner students, nurse practitioners, nursing students, or nurses in formal individual (preceptorships) or live educational formats: limited to 60 Prescribed credits during a three-year re-election cycle
- Writing test questions: limited to 30 Prescribed credits during a three-year re-election cycle
When a CME activity is accredited for AAFP Prescribed credit, it means that an application and supporting material was reviewed and approved by the AAFP's Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD). An AAFP Active or Life member was involved in the development of the activity and it is directly related to patient care and patient care delivery.
When a CME activity is designated for AMA PRA Category 1™ credit, the CME activity is directly or jointly sponsored by CME providers who are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or an authorized state medical society.
AOA credit has been approved for credit by the American Osteopathic Association and may not have been reviewed for AAFP Prescribed credit.
AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the AMA as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Many of the state licensing boards will accept AAFP Prescribed credit from members to meet CME requirements.
Clinical content presented with key practice recommendations supported by evidence that has been systematically reviewed by an approved source.