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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about CME Credit


  • Who can get CME credit (AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™)?
    Only M.D.’s and D.O.’s can claim AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Others are eligible for other types of credit, but all must be pre-arranged by planners and UHS-PEP. If others who are not eligible for credit need a record of the CME credit designation for an activity (many N.P.’s and P.A.’s request this), they can receive a Certificate of Participation upon request. If you lose your Certifcate of Participation, click here to request a Duplicate Certificate or a Transcript.
    • What kind of programs can be approved for CME credit?
      Almost any activity that can be used to “improve a physician’s practice” can be approved for credit. The needs assessment required by UHS-PEP for approval ordinarily justifies the activity.
    • CME credit is for physicians. Housestaff and Fellows are M.D.’s. Can they get the credit?
      CME credit is intended for practicing physicians. Housestaff and Fellows are technically able to receive the credit, but may have little use for it until they become fully licensed practitioners.
    • How do physicians get a record of their credit?
      UHS-PEP provides a transcript request form [PDF] that physicians can complete and return to us. The form must show the signature of the requesting physician. UHS-PEP will process a transcript of credits within 10 days of our receipt of the signed Transcript Request Form. Transcripts are at cost of $10 per physician and must be paid before the request is processed. The Transcript Request Form may be submitted by fax or e-mail with an electronic signature to cmeinfo@vcu.edu. Call the UHS-PEP Registrar if you have questions at 804-828-3640.
    • Can coordinators get a record of attendees’ credits?
      Credit records are confidential and will be provided only upon receipt of a signed Transcript Request Form. UHS-PEP can provide Departmental Attendance Summaries (DAS) which list all participants in each organizational unit and the total number of credits earned. One DAS is available at no charge per year, if a written request is received with list of individual signatures and Social Security Numbers for each physicians authorizing us to process his/her confidential records.
    • What is the difference between CMEs and CEUs?
      CME credits are for M.D.’s and D.O.’s only, and are designated on an hour for hour basis (minus social activities and breaks). Continuing Education Units (CEUs) can be provided to others and are designated as 1/10 credit per 1 contact hour. There is often concern about this “value” difference, but 1 hour of AMA category 1 credit (CME) and 1/10 Continuing Education Unit (CEU) represent the same 1 hour of contact.
    • For Grand Rounds, how is billing determined?
      Grand Rounds billing is determined based on the Calendar of Events that is turned in with quarterly or semi-annual Activity Organizers. UHS-PEP bills the department/division depending upon how they submit for approval. All other activity billing is based on the type of activity and size of activities being planned. Fees are arranged ahead of time and are agreed upon in a Mermorandum of Understanding or Letter of Agreement.
    • Can the commercial supporter (e.g., pharmaceutical company) pay for things directly? Honorarium? Lunch? Hotels?
      Commercial supporters may provide financial support for most aspects of program planning and implementation. The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support of CME [PDF] are designed to separate commercial promotion from education. Commercial Supporters should provide unrestricted educational grants to the accredited CME provider. The provider then uses the funds to support honoraria, lunches, room fees, etc. Commercial supporters are not permitted to pay speakers directly. (With approval from the UHS-PEP, supporters may be allowed to pay for catering directly, if the social arrangements can be seen as “reasonable” and “separate” from the educational session and all arrangements are with the full knowledge and approval of the accredited provider.)
    • If you are doing the same meeting a second time or annually, do you have to go through approval process again?
      Each activity intended for CME must be discussed with UHS-PEP. An approval process is always necessary, regardless of how many times it has been offered in the past. CME regulations change continually; therefore, UHS-PEP must always be able to monitor compliance with the new rules. AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is awarded for each activity as it occurs.
    • What if you can’t get disclosures of Conflict of Interest (COI) from the faculty?
      The ACCME provides two options for acknowledging Faculty COI Disclosure: (1) Disclose the relationship(s) as faculty provide it, or (2) Disclose that no relationships exist. Both options should directly and comprehensively reflect the information disclosed by faculty on the COI Disclosure Form and Letter of Agreement. Documentation must be provided in the form of returned forms and faculty letters requesting the information.
    • What if the commercial supporters don’t return the Letter of Agreement?
      Commercial Supporters must return the Letter of Agreement for Commercial Support of CME [PDF]. Most companies are well aware of this and do not hesitate to do so. Others are less compliant. Document your efforts to obtain this document. UHS-PEP will be glad to assist with the more resistant companies.
    • Can we acknowledge the support of commercial sponsors who do not sign an agreement for commercial support?
      No, you cannot publicize the support from commercial supporters until you have obtained a completed, signed Letter of Agreement for Commercial Support of CME. [PDF]
    • How do you know which accreditation statement to use?
      There are two accreditation statements [Word]: the Jointly Sponsored statement and the Directly Sponsored statement. UHS-PEP is accredited as the “Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) School of Medicine.” If the organization for whom you work (the one paying the UHS-PEP fees) is part of the VCU School of Medicine, use the Directly Sponsored statement. If you are from any other organization, use the Jointly Sponsored statement. If you have questions determining this, please call the UHS-PEP Program Manager immediately at 804-828-5415.
    • Can copies of CME forms be obtained electronically?
      UHS-PEP has placed all forms needed for documentation (the Organizer, Disclosure Forms, and Letters of Agreement, etc) on the UHS-PEP Web site. Please click on Forms for Planners. Since regulations and the applicable forms change regularly, you should check the Web site, or call the UHS-PEP Program Manager 804-828-5415 when you are ready to proceed. Remember, no activity is ever approved without first contacting UHS-PEP. Accessing and using the proper forms does not automatically mean your activity is approved for Category 1 credit.
    • Can CME forms be returned to CME electronically?
      In many cases, forms can be sent to the UHS-PEP Program Manager electronically. Forms that need pre-approval (draft brochures, draft faculty letters), can be e-mailed at any time. Forms that require signatures should still be mailed or faxed.
    • What if there is no planning committee?
      UHS-PEP must have records of physician involvement in planning and of how decisions regarding speakers and topics are made. Quite often we use planning minutes to document this decision-making process. If planning minutes are not kept, please document these decisions in another written form and forward those to UHS-PEP. Alternatives to planning minutes should be discussed with UHS-PEP in advance. At minimum, your Planning Committee should include the Scientific Program Chair and the designated Program Planner/Coordinator, working in consultation with the UHS-PEP faculty and staff.
    • Can commercial supporters provide slides? Speakers?
      Commercial supporters often have useful educational material and occasionally offer assistance to faculty in the preparation of teaching slides. It is acceptable to use this material, provided all company names, logos or promotion are removed, and the content is free of any commercial bias. Companies may also “suggest” a certain speaker if specifically requested by the accredited provider, but VCU must retain control of the final decision to use the suggested speaker. Consult with your UHS-PEP Program Manager for guidance.
    • What is the difference between the preliminary budget and the financial summary?
      A budget (which contains account numbers or billing addresses) should be submitted with the Organizer, prior to CME approval of the activity. This document discusses what you plan to spend on the activity and is completed at the beginning of planning. The financial summary is provided after the activity and explains what was actually spent on the activity. A sample Financial Summary [Excel] is available.
    • If Departments already maintain electronic records of registrations, can these be sent in lieu of the signed attendance forms?
      If you wish to submit electronic attendance records, contact your UHS-PEP representative for approval before your activity. UHS-PEP provides online registration for many of the activities directly sponsored by this office. Please visit our Registration Web site.

For further information please contact:

Jointly Sponsored (JSA) and Department Centered Activities (DCa)Grand Rounds (GR) and other Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS)
Salina Mann-Ghee
Program Manager
John R. Boothby, M.S.W.
Director, Continuing Medical Education
Phone: 804-828-5415
Fax: 804-828-7438
E-mail: smann-ghee@mcvh-vcu.edu
Phone: 804-828-5410
Fax: 804-828-7438
E-mail: jrboothb@vcu.edu