Policies and Criteria
- AAFP Policies and Positions Related to Proprietary Practices
- CME requirements for AAFP Active Members
- CME Credit System Guide(17 page PDF)
The AAFP Credit System
The AAFP Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD), Through its Subcommittee on Clinical Content and Accreditation (SCCA), governs and provides oversight for the approval of continuing medical education (CME) activity types, and AAFP credit designation to meet membership requirements.
To be eligible for AAFP Prescribed or Elective CME credit, an activity must comply fully with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards for Commercial Support and the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) Gifts to Physicians from Industry Opinion E-8.061.
In August 2007, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) modified its definition of a "commercial interest" as follows:
“A commercial interest is considered any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients.”
Visit the ACCME website(www.accme.org) for additional information.
Approved Types of CME Activites
Activities that have been certified by the AAFP for Prescribed or Elective credit.
|Activity Type||AAFP Designation||Credit Maximum|
|X||20 per activity|
Point of Care
|X||0.5 per search or 60 per 3-year cycle|
American Medical Association PRA Category 1 Credit™ Activities
American Osteopathic Association Certified CME Activities
|College of Family Physicians of Canada Certified CME Activities|
Mainpro M1 Credit
Mainpro M2 Credit
Self-directed learning activities that are not certified for credit.
|Activity Type||AAFP Designation||Credit Maximum|
|Self-directed Learning Activities||Prescribed||Elective|
|ABFM or AOA Certification||X||25 per 3-year cycle|
|Advanced Training||X||25 per 3-year cycle|
|Teaching||X||60 per 3-year cycle|
|Published Research||X||15 per paper or 45 per 3-year cycle|
|Research Participation||X||30 per 3-year cycle|
|Schoarly Work: Scientific Paper Presentation||X||10 per paper or 30 per 3-year cycle|
|Preparation/Presentation of Scientific Exhibit||X||15 per 3-year cycle|
|Medical Writing||X||30 per 3-year cycle|
|Peer Review of Journal Manuscripts||X||3 per manuscript or 45 per 3-year cycle|
|Writing Questions for Standardized Tests/Examinations||X||30 per 3-year cycle|
|Professional Enrichment (Independent/Informal)||X||25 per 3-year cycle|
Live: Activities with two or more learners that take place in real time.
Enduring Materials: Activities based on independent learning materials designed primarily as self-study activities.
Journal-based Activities: Based on regularly published collections of articles intended for medical professionals. The participant reads an article, engages in a self-directed phase stipulated by the accredited provider that may include reflection, discussion, or debate about the article, and completes a pre-determined set of questions or tasks related to the article content.
Performance Improvement (PI): Structured improvement projects that have been certified for credit. Five Prescribed credits may be awarded for the completion of each of the three stages, and participants must begin with Stage A. Physicians completing, in sequence, all three stages of a structured PI activity may receive an additional five AAFP Prescribed credits, for a maximum of twenty credits.
Formal Point of Care: Structured systems for tracking searches and use of information at the point of care. Activities certified for AAFP CME credit may be claimed for 0.5 credits per search.
AMA Approved Activities: Educational activities that have been designated as AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for the American Medical Association Physician’s Recognition Award and that have not been certified for AAFP Prescribed credit may be self-reported by members as AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. This counts toward re-election as AAFP Elective credit.
AOA Approved Activities: Educational activities that have been approved for credit by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and that have not been certified for AAFP Prescribed credit may be self-reported by members as AOA credit.
CFPC Accredited Activities: Activities approved by the College of Family Physicians of Canada (CFPC) for Mainpro-M1 CME credit may be claimed as Prescribed credit. Mainpro-M2 CME credits may be claimed as Elective credit.
ABFM and AOA Certification
Certification: Credit may be claimed for certification, recertification, and maintenance of certification through the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) or the American Osteopathic Association (AOA). Members may self-report this credit up to a limit of 25 Elective credits per 3-year cycle.
Advanced training includes completion of a medically-related master’s degree or a fellowship/mini-fellowship program beyond Family Medicine residency. Training may be self-reported for credit. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 25 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Teaching includes instruction of health professions learners in formal individual (e.g., preceptorships) or live educational formats. Members may self report this credit, up to a limit of 60 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Published Research: Publishing original scientific or socioeconomic research pertaining to patient care, public or community health, published in a state or national refereed journal may be claimed as CME. Members may self report up to 15 Prescribed credits per paper, with a limit of 45 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Research Participation: Participation in clinical research studies may also be claimed for CME credit. Participation may include such activities as writing a grant to secure funding for a research project or work as a research investigator or co-investigator. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 30 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Note: Participation in research studies conducted by pharmaceutical companies, device manufacturers, or other proprietary entities or in industry-sponsored drug trials does not qualify for AAFP credit.
Scientific Paper: Presentation or publication of an original scientific or socioeconomic paper pertaining to medical care, at AAFP, AAFP constituent chapter, or other medical society level may be self-reported for credit. Members may self-report this credit, up to a limit of 10 Prescribed credits per paper, or up to a limit of 30 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Scientific Exhibit: Preparation and presentation of a scientific medical exhibit at a meeting produced by AAFP or an AAFP constituent chapter may be self-reported for credit. Members may self-report this credit up to a limit of 15 Elective credits per 3-year cycle.
Writing or Editing
Medical Writing: Writing targeted to a physician and/or other health professional audience may be claimed as CME. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 30 Elective credits per 3-year cycle.
Peer Review: Review of manuscripts for journals listed in Medline may be claimed for up to 3 credits per manuscript. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 45 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Test Item Writing: Contribution to the development of high stakes examinations, or certain self-assessment modules, by researching, drafting and defending potential questions. The questions must be developed for examinations given by the National Board of Medical Examiners (NBME), or a member board of the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), or for peer-reviewed, published, self-assessment educational activities from a national medical specialty society. The process for this activity must document guidance for the physician question writers on how to use evidence for writing quality questions. The assignments must be at a depth and scope that require a review of the literature and knowledge of the evidence base for the questions. Physician question writers should document their review of evidence-based literature. The physician question writers must personally participate in a group peer review of the questions. The question writers should revise their questions, when necessary, based on feedback from the peer group. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 30 Prescribed credits per 3-year cycle.
Personal Enrichment Activities: Other medical educational experiences and activities, such as independent exam preparation and informal self-learning activities. These activities may or may not be documented, are not AAFP-approved or produced by an ACCME accredited institution or organization, but are of a nature of personal enrichment to the family physician. Members may self report this credit up to a limit of 25 Elective credits per 3-year cycle.
Activities Not Eligible
Review a description of CME activities not eligible for AAFP credit.