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California state laws and regulations that affect your medical practice

1. How many hours of Continuing Medical Education are required each year?

All California licensed physicians must complete an average of at least 25 hours of approved Category 1 or other acceptable continuing medical education (CME) each calendar year for a total of 100 approved hours every four yearsas a condition of license renewal.

Any physician who takes and passes a certifying or recertifying examination administered by a recognized specialty board receives credit for four consecutiveyears (100 hours) of CME for that renewal period.

A physician who has not been licensed in California for four calendar years is only required to report progress towards compliance with the CME requirementsby signing a certification statement on the license renewal form.

Most (not pathologists or radiologists) California-licensed physicians are required to take, as a one-time requirement, 12 units of CME on "pain management" and "the appropriate care and treatment of the terminally ill." The Medical Board will accept any combination of the two topics totaling 12 hours. The 12 required hours count toward the 25 hours of approved continuing education each physicianis required to complete each calendar year.

General internists and family physicians who have a patient population of which over 25% is at least 65 years of age are required to complete at least 20% of their CME in the field of geriatric medicine.

CME documentation must be maintained for a minimum of four years.

2. How will the State Board of Medical Examiners know whether a physician has completed the necessary hours of CME?

The Division of Licensing of the Medical Board of California is required by law to conduct an annual audit of physicians who have certified compliance with the Continuing Medical Education requirements by signing the CME certification statement on their last license renewal notice.

3. Are there any exemptions for CME?

A physician who is unable to complete the minimum CME requirements due to health, military service or undue hardship may request a CME waiver.

4. What are the requirements for reporting CME?

If a physician is not being audited for CME completion, it is only necessary to sign the self-certification statement on the renewal application form and return it with the renewal payment. If the physician did not receive a renewal notice, the following signed statement along with the renewal payment should be sent to the Board: "I certify under penalty of perjury that I can document, if audited, that I have completed 100 hours of approved CME over the last fouryears."

Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code § 2190 et seq.; see also California MedicalBoard website.

Copyright © Kern Augustine Conroy and Schoppmann, P.C. Used with permission.

Updated 2008

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