FAQ: General CME


Q. Who can give credit for activities held at Washington University?

A. All CME activities at Washington University Medical Center requesting Category 1 credit towards the AMA PRA need to be accredited by Washington University CME.

Q. Do all of these policies and procedures need to be followed if the CME event is not held on Washington University campus?

A. Yes, if Washington University CME is providing credit.

Q. What is the ACCME (Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education)?

A. The ACCME accredits organizations like Washington University that offer continuing medical education to help physicians stay up to date, drive improvements in practice and optimize patient care, and meet requirements for maintenance of licensure, maintenance of certification, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and other professional privileges. Accredited CME is designed to be relevant, practice-based, effective, and independent of commercial influence.

ACCME Accreditation Criteria
ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education
ACCME Policies

Q. What type of continuing education credit does Washington University offer?


In support of improving patient care, Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team. Check individual activity descriptions to determine which of these credit types is/are available.

Q. There is so much free CME credit online. Why do I have to pay for CME credit at Washington University?

A. CME credit is never actually free. If you have received “free” credit from an online or print publication or for attending a conference, it is because somebody else underwrote the activity—and that somebody may have been industry (look for the “Supported by an educational grant from X pharmaceutical company” the next time you sign up for free online credit). In order for any CME activity to be accredited, it must go through rigorous steps to ensure that it meets standards set by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME). This includes documenting that the activity has an appropriate target audience, activity objectives, and learning objectives; fills a gap in knowledge, competence, or performance; and that the education is free from commercial bias.

The latter requires reviewing financial disclosures of all individuals involved in the planning and presentation of the educational activity, ensuring that any potential conflict of interest is mitigated, and confirming through post-activity evaluations that participants did not perceive a bias. Thus the accredited organization must be involved in the planning and monitoring of all CME activities. The standards for an organization to become an accredited provider are steep—steeper yet for organizations like Washington University that have Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education, which permits us to accredit continuing education activities for nursing and pharmacy credit in addition to physician credit. Not surprisingly, accredited organizations must pay an annual fee to the accrediting body, must pay staff to perform the regulatory work, and must pay database fees associated with maintaining records.

Q. What type of CME Courses does Washington University offer?

  • Live Activities, both in-person and online
  • Internet Enduring Material (CMEOnline)
  • Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS)
  • Learning from Teaching
  • Journal-based CME

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