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What is CME?
Continuing Medical Education (CME) is defined as “educational activities that serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public, or the profession” (source: ACCME and AMA).
Who is the ACCME?
ACCME is the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education and is the organization that sets the standards for the accreditation of all providers of CME activities.
Who is the AMA?
The American Medical Association helps doctors help patients by uniting physicians nationwide to work on the most important professional and public health issues.
What types of activities qualify for CME/CE certification?
A wide variety of educational activities qualify for CME certification, including, but not limited to:
  • Lectures and meetings in which learners are physically or remotely present.
  • “Enduring Materials” - CME activities based on recorded or published content (i.e., printed materials, CD-ROMs, audio CDs, DVDs, Internet presentations).
What type of CME credit do physicians need?
AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is the most common type of credit physicians need for medical license maintenance. In order for an activity to be designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, it must be planned by an accredited CME provider (e.g., University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry).
What is the difference between Category 1 and Category 2 credit?
According to the AMA, Category 1 CME activities are:
  • Formally planned activities that include documentation of acceptable needs assessment, learning objectives, educational design, an evaluation method, and disclosure.
  • Planned and implemented in full compliance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support
  • Prospectively certified for credit by an ACCME-accredited CME Provider.
Category 2 "self claim" credits are:
  • Informally planned physician-initiated activities such as practice-based self-study, consultations with colleagues, teaching, M&M conferences, journal clubs, etc.
  • The University of Rochester CEL Office is not involved with planning, certifying, or tracking Category 2 activities.
What is the cost of CME/CE certification?
The cost of certifying your activity for CME/CE credit depends on:
  • Type of activity (joint/co vs. directly sponsored, live vs. enduring, 1 hour vs. 5-day, etc.).
  • Number of credit hours
  • Number of educational grants involved
  • Number of Faculty (speakers, authors, etc.)
  • Estimated number of participants/learners
How do I obtain CME/CE credit for my activity?
Contact the University of Rochester CEL Office at (585) 275-4392 or to discuss your activity.
What is the difference between direct, joint, and co-sponsorship?
Direct Sponsorship: A CME activity that the University of Rochester's CEL office develops and implements with another University of Rochester Department.
Jointly Sponsorship: A CME activity that is developed and implemented by two institutions or organizations and only one of the institutions or organizations is accredited by the ACCME. The accredited provider (e.g., University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry) must take responsibility for a CME activity when it is presented in cooperation with a non-accredited institution or organization. A commercial interest cannot take the role of non-accredited entity in a joint sponsorship relationship (Source: ACCME).
Co-sponsorship: A CME activity presented by two or more accredited providers. One institution must take responsibility for the activity.
Why do CME grant agreements need to indicate “University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry” and not “University of Rochester Medical Center”?
The official accredited CME provider is the University of Rochester School of Medicine & Dentistry (see also ACCME Standard 3.4).
How can I obtain information about an activity that is being certified by the University of Rochester CEL Office?
Visit the “CME Calendar” sections on our home page. If the activity is not listed, please call us at (585) 275-4392.
Why do CME faculty (speakers, presenters, moderators, activity medical directors, authors, planning committee member, etc.) have to complete a CME disclosure form?
The ACCME requires CME providers (i.e., University of Rochester CEL Office) to require everyone who is in a position to control the content of an educational activity to disclose all relevant financial relationships with any commercial interest(s) in order to prevent potential bias in the educational content. Review the ACCME’s definition of ’relevant’ financial relationships. Review ACCME Standards 2.1, 2.2, and 2.3).
Is it OK for a pharmaceutical sales representative to bring in food for a grand rounds session?
No, pharmaceutical sales representatives or representatives of medical product/device manufacturers cannot pay directly for the food. However, they can provide an educational grant to the University of Rochester Department in support of the food costs (see ACCME Standard 3).
A pharmaceutical company has offered to provide an educational grant to cover the speaker's honorarium, and they will "take care of the speaker's travel." Is this okay?
No, the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support require that all support from commercial interests be provided to the accredited CME provider in the form of an educational grant (see ACCME Standards 3.8 and 3.9).
Can a pharmaceutical company choose who will speak at my department’s meeting?
No, it is up to the Activity Director to select appropriate topics and speakers for their CME activity based upon the target audience's educational needs. The Activity Director can request a Speaker List from a pharmaceutical representative and then select an appropriate speaker and topic from the list. The Activity Director should then communicate with the chosen speaker and delineate the learning objectives he/she would like the speaker to address (see ACCME Standard 1.1).
A pharmaceutical company has provided an educational grant to support a grand rounds session that is certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. The company has signed a grant agreement to cover the meeting expenses; one of the sales representative wants to give a short presentation on the company's newest product at the beginning (or end) of the session…is this allowed?
No, CME providers cannot allow representatives of Commercial Interests to engage in sales or promotional activities while in the space or place of the CME activity (see ACCME Standard 4.3).
Why do I have to obtain patient authorization or de-identify information for my CME presentation?
In response to growing concerns about keeping health information private, Congress passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The legislation includes a privacy rule that creates national standards to protect individuals' personal health information. HIPAA allows healthcare providers to utilize patient information, without authorization, in teaching activities involving University of Rochester faculty, staff, and medical trainees. When other individuals may be present at a conference (for example, college students visiting for a day or physicians and nurses from a private practice) patient authorization must be obtained OR information de-identified. The items considered to be identifiers by the federal government and therefore to be removed are extensive—basically anything that could tie the medical information to an individual—including, but not limited to name, address, social security and medical record number, picture of face, any date associated with the individual (admission, discharge, birth, death), and implanted device serial numbers. WHENEVER POSSIBLE, DE-IDENTIFY INFORMATION TO BE PRESENTED AT CONFERENCES. For additional information, visit