Continuing education

House votes to restore full CME credit for standardized life-support courses

Policy allows hour-for-hour credit for courses through the end of the 2010-12 CME cycle.


Physicians are often required to complete nationally standardized life support courses, such as Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS) and Advanced Trauma Life Support (or ATLS), to maintain hospital privileges. With this and other practice situations in mind, the Minnesota Osteopathic Medical Society proposed a resolution to rescind an AOA policy that restricts the amount of Category 1-A continuing medical education credit DOs can earn for such programs.

Minnesota’s Bruce B. Cunningham, DO, said that it was after the 2010-12 CME cycle had already begun that the AOA started limiting the Category 1-A credit for life-support classes to eight hours. The change has confused many osteopathic physicians and poses a particular to hardship to rural emergency physicians, who have relied on these courses for much of their Category 1-A CME credit, he explained during a House committee meeting.

On the other hand, some emergency physicians pad their CME requirements with easy-to-earn credits in courses that often are taught by nonphysicians, a delegate said.

“A lot of these are online courses that are not meant to be repeated every single year,” argued Mark A. Mitchell, DO, speaking on behalf of the American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians. “But we have physicians who have been taking these courses every year to meet the CME requirements for Category 1-A. This goes against the philosophy of CME, which is to broaden your training.”

While the House did not completely rescind the AOA’s policy, it passed a resolution to allow full hour-for-hour credit for standardized life-support and bioterrorism courses through the end of the 2010-12 CME cycle.

One comment

  1. Randall Fryer

    I am one of the ones that this policy will effect. Though Family Practice boarded, I mainly cover remote and rural emergency rooms. These courses are critical to providing life saving care, yet working primarily in rural environments we don’t get to run as many cardiac codes as ER physicians that practice in higher density urban environments. I resented the vote limiting credit for these courses and feel it is a wrong-headed policy. I appreciate being able to take full credit for this CME cycle and hope that the courses will remain full credit for time put in after that as well.

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