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Medical Boards Ready to Accept Volunteer CME Hours

November 9, 2021
 

Nashville, TN – In 2017, TCA § 63-6-712 was enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly. Section (a) allows physicians to claim up to eight hours of CME credit toward the 40-hour requirement per licensure renewal period for providing voluntary health care services under the aegis of a qualified sponsoring organization.

According to the Board of Medical Examiners (BME) staff, no physician has every been denied these hours with proper documentation since the law’s inception. Problem is, this fact has not been actively shared with licensees until now. At the request of the metro component medical societies, TMA legal staff asked the BME in September to publish rules setting out a process by which doctors could avail themselves of the law’s benefits.

During its November meeting, BME staff announced that the health-related licensing boards are now ready to accept documentation of volunteer health service from a qualified sponsoring organization. All of the metro component medical societies’ Access to Care and Bridges to Care foundations are qualified sponsoring organizations registered with the state. To claim CME credit toward licensing board requirements, licensees must request that the sponsoring organization on whose behalf they provided volunteer health service submit documentation to the appropriate board on its official letterhead.

There is learning value associated with the provision of free medical care worthy of CME credit. According to Chattanooga-Hamilton County Medical Society CEO Rae Bond said, “TMA and the medical society foundations strongly believe that a participating physician will gain a lot of valuable knowledge through the provision of free medical care. Many low-income patients and ethnically diverse patients would not normally be able to receive care but for care provided through the sponsoring organizations. By treating many of these patients, physicians can gain valuable insight into the health needs of vulnerable populations and learn to be able to identify health care delivery inequities in our system.”

TMA General Counsel Yarnell Beatty, who petitioned the BME for a volunteer CME process, added: “Insight from volunteer medical service will improve the ability of participating physicians to care for these patients and inspire doctors to advocate for patients on issues such as insurance coverage through TennCare as well as free or discount prescription drugs and devices.”

Contact legal@tnmed.org if you have questions about obtaining CME credit toward the state boards’ requirements by the provision of volunteer medical services.