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New CME audit program to ensure accuracy in annual reporting of hours

Starting in January, the North Carolina Medical Board will implement a new audit program to verify that physician licensees accurately report continuing medical education (CME) hours.

Physicians must earn 150 hours of CME over three years, with at least 60 of those hours being Category 1 hours. Licensees are currently asked to report CME hours earned during the previous 12 months annually, when they renew their licenses with the Board. There is no annual requirement for CME hours earned. A licensee must simply meet the 150-hour minimum by the end of his or her current three-year cycle.

Beginning in January, the Board will randomly select a percentage of the physician licensees who renew each month to complete an audit form. Licensees will be asked to provide documentation of CME hours reported during the renewal process. Documentation for Category 1 CME (providerinitiated) can be as simple as keeping a dated record of your attendance at or participation in accredited CME programs. Licensees should also keep a file of receipts or certificates verifying the information recorded. Documentation for Category 2 CME (physician-initiated) can include keeping a list of CME activities and noting the nature of the activity, the date and the hours earned. Board staff will review reported hours to verify that CME is practice-relevant

The new audit program is aimed at encouraging licensees to fully and accurately report CME activity to the Board. Accurate reporting also should help ensure that the CME total displayed during the annual renewal process is up-to-date, allowing licensees to plan for additional CME accordingly. During the renewal process, the Board's online system shows licensees how many hours have been earned during the current three-year cycle.

The Board currently monitors all physician licensees to ensure that they meet the three-year minimum requirement of 150 CME hours. Licensees who do not meet the requirement are notified that they are deficient and provided several options for getting into compliance with the Board's CME rules. This compliance program will continue.

New CME Audit

Who is affected? Physician licensees
What is it? Verification of CME hours reported for the previous 12 months
When? Starting January 2010
Why? To ensure accurate reporting of CME on an annual basis
How to prepare: Save documents verifying CME completed