AAFP Credit System
AAFP Credit System FAQ
Review the following responses to Frequently Asked Questions regarding the AAFP Credit System:
Questions When Getting Started
Questions About Blended Learning
Questions About AAFP/ABFM Performance Improvement (PI) Credit
Questions After Completing an Application
Questions About Quality Control
Other Important Questions
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Learn More About AAFP/ABFM PI Credits
The AAFP has an easy to follow online application process. In just a few steps, you can create an account, and begin the process of submitting your application. Your application can be paused at any time, so you do not need to complete the entire application at once. Create your account right now.
The AAFP Credit System differs in our fee structure, as we provide activity-level reviews of each activity submitted for AAFP CME credit. There are no annual fees or maintenance costs associated with AAFP credit.
The fees vary depending on the type of CME activity. Learn more about the AAFP Credit System application review fees.
Application reviews typically take 30 business days from the date payment is received to process. Once payment for a complete application is submitted, you are able to track and monitor the status of it on your CME Provider Dashboard, so you are always informed.
Yes, two rush review options are available. Same-day reviews, as well as 3-5 business day reviews are available, both for an additional fee. Application must qualify. Contact the AAFP Credit System for complete details. View details regarding fees for these reviews.
Not all applications are approved. However, our Credit System Specialists can discuss our eligibility requirements and the application process with you to ensure that you have a complete understanding prior to applying for AAFP credit. Learn more about our eligibility 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.
Yes. Although the AAFP encourages CME providers to apply for AAFP credit before the activity occurs to ensure learners can earn credit in a timely fashion, you may apply for AAFP credit at any time.
The AAFP Credit System defines blended learning as a single educational activity designed for the same learner(s) that is delivered via multiple formats. Blended learning activities are delivered in two or more of the following formats:
- Live Courses
- Enduring Materials
- Medical Journals
- Performance Improvement
Can I submit a blended learning application for my live activity and for the recorded version of the live event?
Unfortunately, this is considered repurposed content or archived content, which is not eligible under the blended learning activity type. Instead, you’ll have to submit one single live activity and one separate enduring material application for the archived content. Watch our tutorial on how to complete your blended learning activity application.
You can include multi-site/date components within the blended learning application. However, pricing will be determined by the overall number of credits that are being requested. Watch the tutorial.
Yes, KSA is a format option for the blended learning activity application. Watch the tutorial.
How many sessions will I need to add for a Performance Improvement component on my blended learning application?
You will only need to include one session for the Performance Improvement component.
The cost will vary depending on how many credits are being requested. The fee structure can be found on our fees page .
The application review process is the same for blended learning activities as it is for other activity types. Application reviews typically take 30 business days from the date payment is received to process. Once payment for a complete application is submitted, you are able to track and monitor the status of it on your CME Provider Dashboard, so you are always informed.
A CME provider is the person, institute, or organization responsible for all aspects of the CME activity.
No; however, attestation that the activity complies with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support and meets all requirements of the Standards is required on the application for all CME activities. The activity director's name and phone number should be included when attestation is made on the application.
An activity is eligible for AAFP Prescribed credit when it is designed primarily for physicians with content directly related to patient care, patient care delivery, or certain nonclinical topics. A family physician who is an AAFP active or life member must be directly involved in the development of the activity and attestation is required on the CME application.
An activity is eligible for AAFP Elective credit when it is primarily designed for health care professionals other than physicians. Direct involvement of an AAFP active or life member in the planning of the activity is not required.
A regularly scheduled conference series activity takes place weekly, monthly, or quarterly to the same audience, typically in a hospital or educational setting. The maximum number of credits is 3.75 per session and the topics change with each meeting. Examples include grand rounds, tumor boards, and noon conferences. An application must be submitted once a year for each series activity. There is no limit to the number of sessions occurring within the term of approval.
A multi-site/date activity is when an activity is presented multiple times and/or in multiple locations throughout one year. The length and content of the activity remains the same.
When a CME activity is approved for AAFP Prescribed credit, it means that an application and supporting materials were 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 the content 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), an authorized state medical society, or the American Medical Association (AMA) directly.
The person who submitted the application will be notified of the AAFP credit determination by email. Please retain a copy of the official AAFP credit determination letter for your files.
Yes. Final approval of AAFP credit rests with the Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD).
If a CME provider wishes to appeal determination of credit, a letter of intent to appeal must be submitted within 30 business days after receipt of the credit determination.
Learn more about the AAFP Credit System appeals process.
The AAFP requires all documentation associated with activity development, including records verifying physician participation, to be retained for one year by the CME provider.
No. CME providers are not required to distribute certificates of participation. AAFP members may report CME credits in the following ways:
By phone: (800) 274-2237
American Academy of Family Physicians
Attn: AAFP Member Resource Center
11400 Tomahawk Creek Pkwy
Leawood, KS 66211-2672
The AAFP does not require CME providers to issue certificates of participation; however, learners find this documentation helpful, as many members need a certificate for state licensing or credentialing. The AAFP’s online Tools for CME Developers include a certificate of participation template.
At times, the AAFP Credit System needs additional information on specific CME applications in order to better-understand content or ensure that the content in question aligns with the AAFP Credit System’s Eligibility Requirements. These requests may focus on learning objectives, slide decks (a copy of the presentation that is planned for a live event), a session overview description, a connection to patient care, etc.
Please know these requests are part of our standard process and do not indicate that content is not eligible for credit. As always, we strongly encourage you to use the eligibility requirements as a guide when creating CME. Additionally, it is a good resource if you’re unsure if your activity is eligible for CME credit through the AAFP Credit System.
After an activity receives official AAFP credit approval, "Save the Date" announcements and advertisements may indicate that the activity was approved for AAFP credit without using the full, official AAFP credit statement. Advertising options are listed below.
- Apply for AAFP CME Credit through the AAFP Credit System. If your activity is awarded AAFP CME credit, it will be listed in the CME search page on AAFP.org for our more than 131,400 members to view. In a 2015 survey, 84% of members surveyed responded that this is the #1 search tool they use to find CME.
- AAFP Mailing List:(www.infocusmarketing.com) You may purchase access to the AAFP member mailing lists for advertising purposes.
- SmartBrief: This is a newsletter that goes out to roughly 30,000 AAFP members. You may purchase advertisements in this newsletter as well, by contacting Aaron Kern at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- AFP Journal Advertisement: You have the option to pay to advertise in the AFP Journal. Please contact Nicole Tate at email@example.com with questions.
The AAFP Credit System is governed by the Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD). The commission provides oversight for development, and as a quality control measure, members of the commission review a percentage of the total applications received by the AAFP Credit System.
Yes. The AAFP conducts three types of audits:
Random: Help to ensure compliance with AAFP Credit System rules, including the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Standards for Commercial Support(www.accme.org).
Complaint: Conducted when the AAFP is made aware of concerns (e.g., feedback from the learners) about any activity that has been awarded AAFP Prescribed credit and/or AAFP Elective credit.
Live: May be performed on any activity that has been awarded AAFP Prescribed credit and/or AAFP Elective credit.
Learn more about activity audits.
The following organizations have written credit conversion agreements with the AAFP:
AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the following organizations/physician licensing boards. This acceptance is confirmed each year, though no written agreement exists. Participants should contact these organizations directly to find out how to report credit:
- American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA)
- National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA)
- American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)
- American Academy of Nurse Practitioners Certification Board (AANPCB)
- American Association of Medical Assistants (AAMA)
- American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM)
- American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM)
- American Board of Preventative Medicine (ABPM)
- American Board of Urology (ABU)
Unlike other activities that require joint providership, the AAFP may be able to award credit to your activities based on our eligibility requirements. You do not need to be an accredited organization to apply for CME.
Family physicians or others seeking CME credit activities can search our CME search page. You have the option to allow your activity to be visible on our webpage, a free service, which allow our more than 131,400 members to view it when searching for activities to attend. Your marketing description of the activity that is included in the application for AAFP CME credit will be listed on the website and can impact how learners are able to find it. View additional advertising opportunities.
Providers, physicians, staff, or learners have not considered utilizing AAFP credit for family physician attendees often because they are not fully aware of the benefits that having AAFP credit provides.
The AAFP Credit System and the American Board of Family Medicine (ABFM) collaborated so that CME providers will be able to offer their learners credit from AAFP and the ABFM depending on the learners’ needs.
CME providers will complete an online application for CME credit for performance improvement activities through the AAFP Credit System.
If a CME provider is interested for applying for credit through this single application process, then the provider should check the ABFM attestation box on Step 1 of the application to indicate that ABFM Certification Activity credit is being sought in conjunction with AAFP CME credit. The CME provider must attest that the CME activity meets the following requirements to be eligible for credit through both entities:
- the AAFP requirements for performance improvement activities(2 page PDF),
- ABFM Industry Support Policy(www.theabfm.org),
- the ABFM Requirements for Performance Improvement activities(www.theabfm.org),
- and the provider agrees to periodic audit by the ABFM(www.theabfm.org).
There is no additional fee to receive credit through this single application process. The regular review fee for a performance improvement activity will just apply. That fee is $695.
Upon approval, the AAFP Credit System will email the CME provider an approval letter that contains the AAFP CME credit statement and the ABFM Certification Activity credit statement. These statements can be used to inform learners that the performance improvement activity has been approved for CME credit by both the AAFP and the ABFM.
How does this change benefit CME providers who are seeking credit for both AAFP and the ABFM credit for performance improvement activities?
CME providers will no longer have to pay for ABFM Certification Activity credit approval. Additionally, CME providers will no longer have to submit two separate CME credit applications or wait on two separate time lines.
It is anticipated that AAFP members and ABFM Diplomats will gain more PI activities from which to choose as a result of the new, unified process. Please report learner completion data directly to AAFP, who will ensure the information is shared with the ABFM. This streamlines reporting CME credit for PI activities for AAFP members and ABFM Diplomats.
CME providers should contact Ann Williamson at the ABFM with questions regarding the ABFM.
What if the term of approval for my performance improvement (PI) activity ends with the ABFM before it does with AAFP?
You will want to look at the end dates of your performance improvement activities. If your term of approval with the ABFM expires before your activity with the AAFP, then go ahead and apply for PI-CME credit through AAFP. It is okay if you have two PI-CME activities with AAFP that overlap. After your new PI-CME application is approved by AAFP, you will only have to worry about AAFP’s timeline for this activity.
What if the term of approval for my performance improvement (PI) activity ends with AAFP before it does with the ABFM?
If your term of approval with the AAFP expires before your activity with the ABFM, then go ahead and apply for PI-CME credit through the AAFP. After your new PI-CME application is approved by AAFP, you will only have to worry about AAFP’s timeline for this activity.
The AAFP Credit System does award AAFP credit to physician wellbeing topics that align with the AAFP Credit System’s Eligibility Requirements. The AAFP Credit System recognizes the importance of physician wellbeing in maintaining personal and professional wellbeing and in providing quality patient care. To support physician wellbeing, the AAFP’s Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) has provided guidance to the AAFP Credit System for CME provider organizations who want to design educational activities on this topic and who want those activities to be eligible for CME credit. Staff encourage CME provider organizations to consider the following guidance when designing and offering educational activities on 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.
The AAFP’s Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD) issued a Call for Comment on Functional Medicine in September 2017. As a result of the call, a summarized report was provided to the COCPD. This report, in conjunction with several literature reviews and the results of an AAFP member survey, helped inform the COCPD’s decision to lift the moratorium on Functional Medicine. The AAFP Credit System will begin approving Functional Medicine topics in alignment with the AAFP Credit System’s Eligibility Requirements, and the additional guidance provided by the COCPD, effective immediately.
- 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).