AAFP Credit System
AAFP Credit Eligibility Requirements
Credit System and Compliance staff review all applications submitted for AAFP CME credit in accordance with the AAFP Credit System’s Eligibility Requirements outlined below.
View our Decision Tree(1 page PDF) document to understand how staff come to credit determination decisions. CME Provider Organizations are encouraged to use this tool if there is uncertainty about whether a topic is eligible for AAFP CME credit.
The CME activity must be relevant to the scope of family medicine.
The CME activity must fully comply 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 9.6.2.
The AAFP is committed to assuring that appropriate quality CME is available to the nation’s family physicians. As a national credit system, the AAFP must monitor and enforce compliance with current regulations governing CME, such as the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support, and the above referenced CEJA Opinion, both of which the AAFP has adopted as its own policies. The primary purpose of these standards is to ensure independence, balance, transparency, and absence of commercial bias in CME.
The CME activity must be primarily designed for physicians and have an AAFP Active or Life member directly involved in the planning of the activity to ensure the relevance of the content to the specialty of family medicine.
The CME activity may be primarily designed for healthcare professionals other than physicians. Direct involvement of an AAFP active or life member in the planning of the activity is not required.
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All clinical content presented in the activity must be evidence-based and/or customary and generally accepted (CGA) medical practice, OR, if some or all of the clinical content within the activity appears to be neither evidence-based or CGA, it must not appear to the COCPD to be dangerous or ineffective. In this case, content must offer a balanced explanation of potential benefits and risks, AND be presented in a manner that is intended to inform the physician, rather than train the physician in the practical application of the content.
The provider must also demonstrate that at least 50% of the educational content meets one or more of the following criteria:
1. The activity content has a direct bearing on patient care.
2. The activity content is related to selected non-clinical topic(s) that support the physician's professional role in patient care, including, but not limited to the following:
a. Medical ethics
c. Patient-centered advocacy
d. Physician-patient relations
e. Professional and/or academic leadership
f. Teaching and faculty development
3. The activity content has a direct bearing on family physicians' ability to deliver patient care. These topics include, but are not limited to, the following:
a. Healthcare system/practice management
b. Laboratory regulations
c. Utilization review techniques/quality assurance
Physician Wellbeing Topics:
Activities and sessions that are eligible for CME credit are:
- Those that are informational, including, but not limited to, discussing data and evidence regarding physician wellbeing, physician burnout, a physician's ability to maintain wellbeing in the practice environment, and current techniques or evidence-based recommendations to address these issues.
- Those that are instructional if there is a direct link to patient care (e.g., guiding learners through the practical application of mindfulness techniques or yoga poses, specifically to be taught to patients). CME provider organizations will be required to make this connection within the credit application or upon a request for additional information to clarify the intent.
Activities and sessions that are not eligible for CME credit are:
- Those that are instructional and designed specifically for the physician's personal benefit and not intended to be taught to the patient.
- Those that do not align with any other part of the AAFP Credit Eligibility Requirements.
Functional Medicine Topics:
- Eligible activities and sessions for credit: limited to those that provide the clinician with an overview or scope of Functional Medicine and the techniques that Functional Medicine practitioners use so that the clinician can educate patients who inquire about Functional Medicine. (Examples may include introducing the topic of Functional Medicine or explaining the Functional Medicine matrix).
- Ineligible activities and sessions for credit: those that teach the clinician how to do various techniques, modalities, or applications of Functional Medicine that practitioners may implement in their clinical practices. (Examples may include teaching how to treat patients using various Functional Medicine modalities or applying Functional Medicine to clinical practice).
The Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD)
The Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) is charged with exercising its professional judgment in the interpretation and application of the AAFP Credit System eligibility requirements in order to ensure that AAFP credit is awarded to activities that are appropriate for AAFP members. The COCPD has the authority to deny any activity or portion of an activity that does not appear to align with the intentions of the requirements.
Previous CME credit determination decisions do not influence current application reviews. This is in part because rules change and evolve over time, along with the CME environment. Prior CME credit approvals are not a guarantee that future applications or sessions will be approved.