May 24, 2021
Area(s) of Interest: Continuing Medical Education (CME) Advocacy
Exciting changes are coming to California continuing medical education (CME)!
To further support its CME providers, the California Medical Association (CMA) is sponsoring Assembly Bill (AB) 359 (Cooper), which expands the definition of CME qualifying content to include practice management education, which aligns with other state and national guidelines and results in better services to patients.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the American Medical Association (AMA) and California’s Business and Professions Code 2190.1 define CME as consisting of “educational activities which 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.”
ACCME and other states allow the definition for CME activities to include practice management content, as these topics assist physicians in carrying out their professional responsibilities more effectively and efficiently.
Current California law prohibits CME from including educational activities that include medical office management, billing and coding, etc. AB 359 specifically adds educational activities that “promote recommendations, treatments or manners of practicing medicine,” such as the following, as acceptable CME content:
- Practice management content designed to provide better service to patients, including, but not limited to, the use of technology or clinical office workflow
- Management content designed to support managing a health care facility, including, but not limited to, coding or reimbursement in a medical practice
- Support educational methodology for physicians and surgeons teaching in a medical school
As such, topics that would qualify for CME include:
- Clinical workflows to improve patient practices
- Use of technology including telehealth to increase access to care for underserved communities
- Coding and reimbursement in a medical practice to increase awareness of new health management tools (i.e., adverse childhood event screenings, etc.)
- Practice management and clinical staff management (i.e., learning to use software to manage patient flow and communicate with staff, learning best practices for clinic staffing, dealing with patient/staff issues)
- Management and leadership, for physicians responsible for managing a health care facility
AB 359 passed out of the California Assembly and has been referred to the Senate Business and Professions Committee. To date, AB 359 has not received any “no” votes and continues to pass on consent. Because AB 359 has an urgency clause, AB 359 would become effective upon signature from the Governor.
CMA will continue to support and advocate for its CME providers, as well as provide more information as the bill progresses through the legislature.