New CME requirements take affect

Under a new Board Rule, all physicians licensed by the Vermont Board of Medical Practice (VBMP) will be required to meet a new Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirement of 30 hours in each two-year licensing period, beginning with the upcoming licensing cycle (Dec. 1, 2012 to Nov. 30, 2014) and report their CME as part of the renewal process for the 2014 to 2016 license.  For the initial cycle, training completed during the six months proceeding Dec. 1, 2012 will count as if completed during the 2012-2014 licensing cycle.
The Board’s Rule mandates that all physicians take two separate one-hour long subject-specific CMEs during every two year licensing cycle.  For each licensee, at least one of the 30 hours of CME activity must be on the topics of hospice, palliative care, or pain management services.  In addition, for each licensee who has a DEA number to prescribe controlled substances, at least one of the 30 hours must be on the subject of prescribing controlled substances (Any qualifying hours in excess of the mandatory hour will count toward the overall requirement for 30 hours).   
In the Rule, the only requirement on content other than the two content specific courses is that the activity is reasonably "designed to assure that the licensee has updated his or her knowledge and skills in his or her own specialties and kept abreast of advances in other fields for which patient referrals may be appropriate."  The VBMP Rules acknowledge that the concept of specialty should not be narrowly interpreted and that training about other fields may be reasonably related to one's area of practice.   
In order to count as qualifying activity, the training must be AMA PRA Category 1 Credit approved.  The Board recognizes work providing training the same as the AMA PRA program (two hours of credit for each hour of qualifying training).
The Rules also provide that licensees must maintain documentation of CME for up to four years from date of submission and that the VBMP may request it as part of an audit.  VMS members can request that the society document their fulfillment of CME requirements.
Vermont Board of Medical Practice CME Rule Approved by Legislative Committee
On September 6, the Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules (LCAR) voted 3 to 2 to approve the VBMP Rule on CME.   
In its comment letter to LCAR, the VMS indicated that it generally supports the mandated 30 hours of AMA Category 1 CME as a condition for license renewal every two years.  However, the VMS stated that a number of VMS members expressed concern regarding mandated CME for Hospice, Palliative Care, Pain Management and mandated CME for Prescribing Controlled Substances.  
VMS indicated that requiring these courses for physicians who do not practice in these areas, in particular pathologists and most radiologists, who are reviewing samples and images, but who are not interacting directly with patients will constitute another administrative burden providing little or no value for these Vermont physicians and their patients.  Of particular concern is that the rule would require physicians take these potentially non-relevant CME courses once every two years for as long as they wish to be licensed to practice in Vermont.
VMS will continue to request that the VBMP revise its CME rule to exempt physicians from the rule’s mandatory CME requirement for Hospice, Palliative Care, Pain Management who attest on the license renewal form that their practice does not include direct patient care or referrals in hospice, palliative care, pain management and to exempt physicians from the rule’s mandatory requirement on Prescribing Controlled Substances who attest that they do not prescribe controlled substances.

Contact Information

President: Carol Blackwood, M.D.

Executive Director: Stephanie Winters

Telephone: (802) 223-7898

FAX: (802) 223-1201

Postal Address:
P.O. Box 1457
Montpelier, VT 05601

Email: swinters@vtmd.org