Prescribing CME Requirements Change in 2016

As early as 2016 medical license renewals, Tennessee physicians with a DEA license that prescribe controlled substances will be required to earn two hours of accredited continuing medical education (CME) related to prescribing controlled substances. These credits will have to be earned in either calendar year 2014 or 2015.

The Tennessee Medical Association assists members with licensing and education needs as part of its role as a physician advocacy organization. The TMA hopes to provide new CME for physicians that satisfies the new requirements and is currently planning the material to be included in the course, pending final approval of treatment guidelines being developed by the Tennessee Department of Health. For legal and licensing questions or assistance, contact the TMA Legal Department at 800-659-1862 or

In the meantime, the TMA’s existing one-hour “Epidemic” CME course meets the current BME requirement of one-hour of prescribing CME for license renewals through 2015.

Take the “Epidemic” course

Treatment Guidelines

The Department of Health will develop guidelines by January 1, 2014, for prescribing opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and carisoprodol, and may cover medicine addiction, risk management tools and other topics as approved by the respective physician licensing boards.


The General Assembly created exceptions: this law does not apply to physicians practicing at a registered pain management clinic, or to medical doctors or osteopathic physicians who are certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), American Osteopathic Association (AOA) or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) in one or more of the following specialties or subspecialties:

  • Pain management;
  • Anesthesiology;
  • Physical medicine and rehabilitation;
  • Neurology; or
  • Rheumatology.


The BME (MD licensing board) is considering the possibility of replacing the current one-hour requirement for a course on prescribing practices with this two-hour requirement. The TMA has not yet received an update from the BOE (DO licensing board); both boards will also determine how the treatment guidelines must be used by their licensees.

The TMA will notify members once determinations have been made by each board.


Contact us at or 800-659-1862. For more information on CME, see our online Law Guide topic titled Continuing Medical Education (member login required).

Ms. Williams holds a BA in Mass Communications. She has been overseeing the TMA journal and a part of the Communications team since 2004. Before coming to the TMA, she worked in newspaper, radio and television as a reporter and news anchor, and as a freelance writer. *As of Dec, 2013, Ms. Williams is no longer employed by the TMA.

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