Dear CME Providers,
Exciting news in the world of CME! We wanted to make sure you saw the update from Policy in Medicine on Assembly Bill 359.
Recently, the State of California enacted Assembly Bill 359, which would expand the definition of continuing medical education (CME) to include practice management education, which aligns with other state and national guidelines and results in better services to patients.
Changes to Certification
Under the prior law, applicants for a physician’s and surgeon’s certificate needed to score a passing score on all parts of Step 3 of the United States Medical Licensing Examination in 4 attempts (or less) in order to be eligible for a certificate, unless the applicant also held an unlimited and unrestricted license as a physician and surgeon in another state continuously for a minimum of 4 years prior to the date of application and met certain other requirements. This legislation, however, expands the exception to include an applicant who meets certain requirements, including holding an unlimited license as a physician and surgeon in another state, or in a Canadian province, holding an unrestricted license to practice medicine in a state, in a Canadian province, or as a member of the active military, United States Public Health Services, or other federal program for a period of at least 4 years.
New CME Activities Allowed
California law previously prohibited CME from including educational activities that include medical office management, billing and coding, and other practice management skills. AB 359, however, specifically adds educational activities that “promote recommendations, treatments, or manners of practicing medicine.”
Now that the legislation has been passed and signed into law, CME content can include practice management content designed to provide better service to patients, including the use of technology or clinical office workflow; management content designed to support managing a health care facility, such as coding or reimbursement in medical practice; and support educational methodology for physicians and surgeons teaching in a medical school.
In addition to the new CME topics permitted, a physician or surgeon would be able to meet CME standards by teaching at a medical school, provided the hours claimed by teaching and under the new topics do not exceed 30% of the total hours of CME completed by the doctor or surgeon.
The law became effective immediately after Governor Newsom signed it, due to the COVID-19 pandemic state of emergency. According to the legislation, the state has a “shortage of licensed physicians and surgeons” and that this legislation must immediately take effect to “immediately increase the number of licensed medical doctors (MDs) practicing in California as physicians and surgeons.”