Accruing CME hours is essential to maintain any board certification and license to practice medicine at the nursing, advanced practitioner, or physician level. It isn’t easy. The search for meaningful CMEs is never-ending, but this requirement cannot be ignored. If life has swept you away and you have missed the CME deadline to keep your license current, here are some things you can do.
Do you know with certainty that you have missed the CME deadline?
Before you panic, it’s important to consider several things and check them out:
1. Check Your Reporting Requirements
Some professional organizations have changed reporting requirements, and the time period within which you can accrue credits has been expanded. For example, The New Hampshire Medical Society requires reporting of CME on a two-year cycle (calendar year) based on the year you first received your license. Reporting for both years is made at the end of year two. If you believe you missed the deadline because you didn’t report at the end of year one, in actuality you are still in good shape. Check with your state medical society to make sure you are clear on reporting requirements.
2. Were your CMEs automatically reported by the CME provider?
Some automatically report the CME credits to the organizations you list. For example, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) regularly receives CMEs reported by approved providers. They accrue in your account. Check your account with your certifying organization to see if your CMEs are automatically being accrued.
3. Double-check that all the CMEs you have accrued over the past year have been captured by the system.
If you made a mistake in the online filing of your CME, it probably wasn’t recorded. For example, the AAFP lists the following common mistakes that can prevent accurate capture of the CME record:
- The CME provider may not have applied for certification from the AAFP.
- Approval for the CME may be pending review.
- You may have typed the title differently than it is listed in our system. Use a keyword to search, and you may receive additional results.
- You may have entered a provider name different from the one listed on the application for CME certification. Remove the provider name from your search, and you may receive additional results.
What To Do If You Miss Your CME Deadline
If after checking these three items you find that you did indeed miss the deadline for reporting your CMEs, here are some steps that you can take to remedy the situation:
1. Call your organization immediately.
Many, like the AAFP, do not allow extensions. If you miss the deadline, your membership is canceled. However, the AAFP lists this caveat: “If you are concerned that you may not meet the CME requirement by the end of your re-election cycle, contact us at (800) 274-2237 or [email protected] We can help you get all of your CME recorded. In many cases, after speaking with one of our Member Resource Center specialists, members find that they can meet the requirement by the deadline.”
2. Retest and recertify.
Some organizations, like the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), allow those who have missed the CME deadline to reapply and retest, for a fee. It will feel like taking two steps backward, but it’s the only way to regain footing – not to mention membership and active licensure. Here are some examples:
- If you fail to meet your CME deadline, the ABA will move your 10-year MOC cycle forward one year. Therefore, any CME activities that were completed in the original Year 1 will be removed and required to redo these activities.
- As another example, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) requires that you apply to retake the initial certification exam if you do not obtain enough CME before your certification expiration date.
- The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) does not offer a grace period. Missing your CME requirements will result in a lapsed or expired certification. You can reactivate your credentials by completing the renewal requirements and paying both the renewal and reactivation fee.
3. See if you qualify for an exemption or waiver.
What is the reason that you did not make the CME deadline? Some organizations provide exemptions or waivers for those providing medical care outside the United States for a period of 12 months. Some, like the American Osteopathic Association, offer CME reductions/exemptions/waivers for that and other reasons including:
- Military service
- Medical disability (but returning to work eventually)
- Maternity/paternity leave
- Extenuating circumstances
4. Find out if your organization offers extensions.
Some organizations, like the NCCPA, allows an extension, often with a fee, to keep your licensure status as certified and to give you additional time to complete and report your CME credits.
- The NCCPA offers the ACE (Administrative Certification Extension) for a fee, which gives you a one-month extension of certification additional time to complete your CME requirements.
- The Florida Board of Medicine will move your license to a delinquent status if you do not complete your CME requirements. Failure to renew may result in an issue of noncompliance and you will have 30 days to comply.
The most ideal scenario is to not miss the deadline for your CME requirements in the first place. BoardVitals online CME activities are an excellent way to help you fulfill your last minute CME credits. You can also make your continuing education dollars go further by getting CME credits with a gift card with BoardVitals’ CME Pro Plus custom gift card plan. All activities are certified for up to 100 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)™ and select specialties are certified for MOC credits too.
The majority of organizations have iron-clad policies regarding the timely completion and reporting of CMEs so compliance with CME deadline requirements is usually the best approach. It’s best to develop a strategy that keeps you on track and in line with your CME requirements, to avoid the headache of reestablishing membership and licensure.