Coming Soon! Improvements to CME Accreditation Experience
Changes Include Updated CME Criteria & Fee Structure
In early 2020, AAPA is launching a new online platform that will offer an improved user experience for organizations applying for CME accreditation.
In addition, AAPA has updated its Fee Structure for 2020 and revised its CME Criteria to more closely align with ACCME standards.
In the meantime, you can email us with questions.
Value of AAPA CME Approval
Obtaining AAPA Category 1 CME credit adds value and improves marketability of any continuing medical education (CME) activity.
AAPA is the national organization that advocates for all PAs and provides tools to improve PA practice and patient care. Founded in 1968, AAPA represents a profession of more than 123,000 certified PAs across all medical and surgical specialties in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the U.S. territories, and the uniformed services.
CME providers know that with AAPA approval …
- You’ll reach a wider audience of PAs and NPs.
- Your credibility is enhanced by meeting AAPA criteria.
- You can use the widely-recognized AAPA CME logo, which serves as an effective visual in marketing materials.
- You have the option to post the activity on AAPA’s CME calendar to further extend your reach. (Fees may apply.)
PAs know that if an activity is AAPA approved …
- It’s appropriate and relevant to your scope of practice.
- It will count toward requirements for national certification and state licensure.
- PAs are truly welcome and valued. The activity is not intended for physicians only.
* NPs can often claim AAPA Category 1 CME credit as continuing education with AANPCB and ANCC. AAPA recommends that NPs check with their certification/licensing authority to confirm that AAPA credit is acceptable.
Eligibility, Criteria & Policies
Revised Educational Criteria for 2018
In late 2017, American Medical Association (AMA) and Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accreditation criteria were revised to encourage innovation and flexibility in CME activities, while ensuring educational criteria are met and activities are free of commercial influence. To align with these updated criteria as well as the interprofessional Joint Accreditation Criteria, AAPA has made modifications to its CME criteria. These changes will simplify expectations for accredited CME activities, and allow PAs to hone their medical skills and knowledge with more innovative learning opportunities in more flexible formats.
For our accredited providers, this means:
- As an alternative to explicitly requiring learning objectives, CME activities must at a minimum include a stated purpose or goal in order to comply with AAPA CME Criteria. This modification is made with the recognition that learning can take place in less formal situations but still be relevant for CME credit.
- For enduring materials, as an alternative to traditional post-tests taken after a CME activity, an evaluation may be used that assesses the degree to which the activity met its educational purpose and/or objective. The assessment should also focus on a change in practice for PAs or their healthcare teams in terms of their skills/strategy, performance, or patient outcomes.
View the updated AAPA CME Criteria.
Eligibility General Guidelines
CME credits are awarded for appropriate clinical and professional educational activities designed to assist healthcare professionals with continued medical education needed to enhance the ability to provide quality care to patients.
All requests are reviewed for educational and scientific merit, audience scope, and compliance with legal, ethical and professional obligations. In particular, to be eligible for AAPA CME approval, be sure to:
- Plan the activity in accordance with AAPA CME Criteria (PDF), in compliance with ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.
- Apply for AAPA approval prior to the event or activity launch date. AAPA does not grant retroactive approval for activities.
- Ensure that the activity is relevant to PA practice. The activity must empower PAs to improve patient care, improve systems of healthcare, or advance the profession as a whole.
- Determine in advance how you will record and verify learner participation.
- Create meaningful educational goals or learning objectives that are shared with prospective participants prior to the activity.
- Collect evaluations after the activity so that learners can provide feedback on the quality of the program and the extent to which it met the educational purpose and/or learning objectives of the activity.
You will also need to collect and retain attendance or participation records. Approval of your activity is contingent upon your agreement to provide a small amount of follow-up data after the accreditation period ends. This varies slightly by request type, but usually involves a count and list of PAs who participated in the activity and an evaluation summary.
AAPA Criteria & Policies
In 2018, AAPA joined a collaboration with Joint Accreditation, an organization that establishes the criteria to deliver continuing education planned by the health care team for the health care team. This collaboration gives jointly accredited organizations the option to include PAs in their interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) programs without needing to attain separate accreditation through AAPA. In addition to increasing the availability of AAPA Category 1 CME credit, this also provides greater recognition of the PA’s role in educational activities developed for the team. In addition to AAPA Catagory 1 CME credit, Joint Accreditation offers organizations the opportunity for simultaneous accreditation to provide continuing education to physicians, pharmacists, and nurses through a unified accreditation process and set of accreditation criteria.
To apply for Joint Accreditation please visit www.jointaccreditation.org.
We are pleased to recognize the following providers for their adoption of AAPA Category 1 CME credit through Joint Accreditation:
- Albert Einstein College of Medicine
- Amedco, LLC
- American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry
- American Academy of CME
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- American Diabetes Association
- Ascension/St. Vincent’s Health
- AXIS Medical Education
- Baystate Health
- Boston Children’s Hospital
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center
- Clinical Care Options, LLC
- Consortium of Multiple Sclerosis Centers
- Contemporary Forums
- Continuing Education Alliance
- Continuing Education, Inc
- Creative Educational Concepts
- Creighton University
- Dannemiller, Inc
- Defense Health Agency, J-7, Continuing Education Program Office (CEPO)
- Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Prisons
- Duke University Health System Department of Clinical Education and Professional Development
- FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research
- Geisinger Commonwealth School of Medicine
- Haymarket Medical Education
- Indian Health Service Clinical Support
- Jump Trading Simulation and Education Center
- Mayo Clinic College of Medicine
- Medscape, LLC
- MedStar Health
- National Committee for Quality Assurance
- National Comprehensive Cancer Network
- National Kidney Foundation
- Nationwide Children’s Hospital
- North American Center for Continuing Medical Education (NACCME)
- Northwell Health
- OnCourse Learning
- Penn Medicine
- Postgraduate Institute for Medicine
- PRIME Education, LLC
- Projects In Knowledge, Inc.
- Rutgers Biomedical and Health Sciences
- Society for Simulation in Healthcare
- Sutter Health
- Tabula Rasa HealthCare University
- Texas Health Resources
- The American College of Healthcare Executives
- The Carle Foundation
- The Medical Educator Consortium
- The Robert Larner College of Medicine at The University of Vermont
- Trinity Health System
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- University of Pittsburgh
- VCU Health Continuing Education
- Veterans Health Administration, Employee Education System
- Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine
Category 1 CME Request Types
AAPA offers the following request types. Click a link below to see the definition, accreditation period, any eligibility requirements unique to that type and to download sample supporting documents for your application.
Fees & How to Apply
AAPA Accreditation Fees (PDF)
- Submit your request at least 21 days in advance of the activity start date for normal processing. Requests submitted less than 21 days in advance of the activity start date are subject to rush fees. Requests submitted less than 7 days in advance of the activity start date are not accepted for review.
- Please allow up to three weeks for the AAPA Review Panel to reach a decision following our standard process. Actual review times vary and are impacted by work load, staff resources, and the number of rush requests we’ve received. If reviewers need to request additional information, review of your activity could take longer. If you’ve marked your application for rush processing, you will receive a decision within seven calendar days.
- You may not use AAPA Category 1 CME credit logos in your marketing until/unless your activity is approved. See Accreditation Statements for more information.
- AAPA does not approve activities retroactively. Nor do we accept requests less than seven days in advance of the event/activity date.
Process to Apply for CME Approval
AAPA’s application process is entirely online. Approval decisions and any requests for additional information are sent via email, so please supply a current email address. The instructions below may be downloaded for your convenience: How to Apply for AAPA Category 1 CME Credit (PDF).
Register for an account if neither you nor your organization has submitted CME approval requests previously. In order to do so, you will need to obtain a signed copy of your organization’s W-9 Form (which displays your employer identification number, also known as your organization’s Tax ID). Once you have a digital copy of the W-9, click the “Register” button, and complete the one-page form.
Login using your own or a shared account. If you need help retrieving login credentials, call 703-836-2272 for assistance. Check that your contact information is up-to-date by clicking the “Profile” link in the top right corner before you start a new request. It’s essential that we have a current email address to reach you for questions and to notify you of approval.
- Determine which request type best describes your CME activity. You will find eligibility requirements, sample supporting documents, and tips for a smooth application process by following one of the links below:
- Live Program
- Enduring Activity
- Self-Assessment CME
- Performance Improvement
- Regularly Scheduled Series
- Precepting for Accredited PA Programs
- Hospital and Health-System Quality Improvement
- Click “New Request” to begin your application. Complete all required fields marked with a red asterisk.
- Pay the application fees. As the last step in the online application, you may pay the application fees by credit card. Paying by credit card is recommended because your request will move into our review queue without delay and you can obtain a receipt immediately (click on the “Generate Receipt” link). Alternatively, you may choose the “pay by check” radio button and mail us a check. If paying by check, be sure to include the Request ID on the check stub or in the memo line. Please bear in mind that we will not begin reviewing your application until we receive payment.
IMPORTANT Note: Be sure to click “Submit” or “Save and Continue” at the bottom of the page until you reach a successful transaction/submission page, after you generate the invoice. If your application has not been fully submitted, we are not able to see and review it, or apply check payments.
- Allow up to three weeks to hear back from the AAPA Review Panel. If our review panel requires more information or your application is incomplete, you will receive a request for more information via email. The AAPA Review Panel’s decision on your request is also sent via email.
After Your Activity is Approved
- Accept AAPA’s CME agreement if your CME approval request is granted. Login to AAPA’s CME Approval Software and click the “Accept Agreement” link. You must accept the agreement within 60 days of receiving temporary accreditation or risk your activity being cancelled and subsequently unaccredited.
- Use the AAPA CME logo and accreditation statements in your marketing materials, printed program and front matter. A link to the correct AAPA credit logo and an accreditation statement are found in your CME Agreement. Please use the accreditation statement verbatim, with one exception: if the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn (due to the presence of concurrent sessions) is lower than the total number of approved credits, please use the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn.
- Issue certificates to participating learners when appropriate. Sample certificates are available from the pages detailing each of the request types. As the CME provider, issuing certificates is your responsibility. PAs are responsible for logging the credits they earn. AAPA does not perform either of these functions. Please use the accreditation statement provided to you in your CME Agreement verbatim, with one exception: if the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn (due to the presence of concurrent sessions) is lower than the total number of approved credits, please use the maximum number of credits that an individual could earn.
- Provide AAPA with follow‑up information. Within 90 days of completion of your activity (or at the end of your accreditation period), return to AAPA’s CME Approval Software and click on the “Please Reconcile” link. In general, this entails entering the number of people (PAs, NPs, MDs, and other professionals) who completed your activity, and then uploading a participant list (names only is sufficient) and a summary of the evaluations collected from participants. Different request types vary slightly in this regard.
If your activity is approved by the AAPA Review Panel, you will receive an email with the precise accreditation statement and AAPA CME logo to include in your marketing materials and on certificates of completion issued to learners. You may not use AAPA CME logos nor claim AAPA approval until you have in fact received an approval from AAPA. Doing so may result in denial of current and/or future CME applications.
Language to Use Prior to Receiving AAPA Approval
You may publish the following statement in any advance marketing, prior to applying and/or receiving approval of AAPA Category 1 CME credit for your activity:
“This program is not yet approved for CME credit. Conference organizers plan to request ____ AAPA Category 1 CME credits from the AAPA Review Panel. The total number of approved credits is yet to be determined.”
Activities Already Designated for Physician Credit
PAs generally know that programs approved for Category 1 CME credit by an ACCME accredited provider, AAFP and/or AOA will count towards PA certification maintenance requirements. If you wish to make this explicit in your promotional materials, you could use one of the following statements.
If your program is already designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ from organizations accredited by ACCME or a recognized state medical society.
If your program is already designated for AOA Category 1A Credit
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AOA Category 1A Credit.
If your program is already designated for AAFP Prescribed Credit
PAs may claim a maximum of ____ Category 1 credits for completing this activity. NCCPA accepts AAFP Prescribed Credit.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do any AAPA CME accreditations meet the Improvement Activities Requirements for MIPS?
Yes, PI-CME activities approved for AAPA Category 1 PI-CME credit and Hospital and Health System QI activities approved for AAPA Category 1 PI-CME credit both satisfy the 2019 Improvement Activities Requirements for MIPS.
How long do I need to maintain my records?
Organizations are required to maintain their records for no less than 7 years following the end of an activity. AAPA is not responsible for maintaining records of your attendance, materials, or otherwise.
Individuals are recommended to maintain their CME certificates and records in perpetuity. AAPA is not responsible for maintaining records of your attendance, materials, or otherwise.
Disclosure Forms: My organization has existing disclosure forms or has collected them in a different format that AAPA uses, is this acceptable ?
If your disclosure forms collect the same amount or more information than the AAPA sample disclosure your form will be acceptable in place of our own.
How do I apply for CME approval?
The website has comprehensive information on the different types of requests we approve, fee schedules, and how to apply (among other pertinent information). The best and easiest way to start is right here! Then try your hand at applying, only then contact us if you have any further questions. We will not automatically reject requests due to lack of information, but will will instead reach out to you for additional information or clarification.
My account is locked / I can’t remember my password.
Please be sure you are logging in to the CME Accreditation system and not AAPA’s main page, as the log in information for each site does not interface. You may call 703-836-2272 for assistance. We can either send you a password reset request to your email or reset your password manually. Note that the system does not keep any financial information on file, so it is completely safe for us to reset the password on your behalf. If your account is locked, we will submit a support ticket to unlock access (which could take up to 24 hours).
The person who originally submitted requests on our organization’s behalf is no longer working with us/we do not have access to our account.
Email [email protected]. We will reset the contact information and password on the account on your behalf. Please note, however, that we are unable to make any changes to usernames. If your organization has multiple accounts and you would like to have them merged to a single account, let us know.
What is the status of my request?
Simply log in to the system to view the status of your request. You can also check the email listed on the account for any correspondence (be sure to also check your SPAM or junk folders).
What do these statuses mean?
- Under Approver Review – our approval group is currently reviewing your request. Please allow up to three weeks from the date of submission for the review to complete. If it was a rush request, you may have a decision within seven days of submission.
- Pending Review – the request has not yet been forwarded on to the approval group. Please allow up to three weeks from the date of submission for the review to complete. If it was a rush request, you may have a decision within a week of submission.
- Pending Reconciliation – this can mean two different things. If there is no link in the status (stating “Please reconcile”), then your request has simply been approved and all agreements have been signed and there is no further action at this time. If there is a link present, then your reconciliation is due. Follow the link and you will be asked for all of the appropriate reconciliation information.
- Request Closed – the request and reconciliation are complete! There is nothing more we need from you.
- Request Cancelled – the request has been cancelled.
- Payment Hold – we have not yet received your payment (due to a transaction error or waiting on a check payment). Once we have received payment, your request will be sent for review.
What information is needed for the reconciliation?
This varies by request type. For all activities, we need the number of people (PAs, NPs, MDs, and other professionals) who completed the activity, a participant list, a summary of evaluations collected from participants (do not submit individual responses), and the accreditation survey. Please note that there may be additional information needed depending on the different request types. You will have to log in to the request and view the “Please Reconcile” link to view the necessary information.
Why am I unable to submit a new request?
The most common reason for this is a past request with a past-due reconciliation. This automatically blocks you from being able to submit any new requests. You must complete the reconciliation before submitting a new request. If this is not the case, please contact us so we can look into the issue further at [email protected].
I’m having trouble uploading some documents – I keep getting an error message.
Most commonly this is due to your documents being too large. Attempt to upload a multiple-part document in the place of your original file. If this does not work email [email protected] for further assistance.
I forgot to submit this important document with my initial request or reconciliation. / There have been changes made to the original activity (new faculty, new sessions, etc.).
You should upload the document or information directly in your request. If the system does not allow you to upload the document or make any changes to your request, please send everything to [email protected] and reference your request ID number. Sometimes changes are made to activities last minute, even after they have been approved. In almost all cases, this will not change your approved status. Send the updated information to us at [email protected] and let us know if it changes the number of credits originally requested and/or approved. Be sure to include all changed and updated information in your reconciliation once the activity has concluded.
For any other questions, comments, or concerns, you may contact us at 703-836-2272 or [email protected].