Graded CME tests required again beginning this summer

May 27, 2011

Graded CME tests required again beginning this summer

The practice among some continuing medical education (CME) providers of allowing physicians to certify-usually by signature-that they had reviewed material and taken the test to receive credits will soon end, at least with CME certified by the American Medical Association’s Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education.

The new rule governing the AMA's Physician's Recognition Award, or PRA, Category 1 credit will go into effect on July 1, and affect both journal-based and enduring-material CME activities, whether presented in audio, CD-ROM, online, print, video or other formats.

According to the new rule, CME participants must be assessed against a minimum performance level, and that performance level must be communicated to physicians before the activity is begun. While the AMA does not dictate the type of assessment to be used or the minimum performance level, it does mandate that the evaluation be graded.

Here is breakdown of CME formats and requirements as of July 1.

Enduring materials-must include an assessment of the learner’s performance; credit may be awarded only to those who meet a minimum performance level.

Journal-based CME activities-must include an assessment of the learner’s performance; credit may be awarded only to those who meet a minimum performance level.

Manuscript review activities-credit may be awarded only to physicians who submit reviews deemed acceptable by the editor.

Performance improvement CME-must begin with Stage A, which involves assessing current practice using identified performance measures, either through chart reviews or some other appropriate mechanism.

AMA credit designation statement-has been modified to indicate the learning format for the activity.