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Frequently Asked Questions

Every physician in Tennessee with an active medical license is required to obtain 40-hours of CME in the two years that precede the year of licensure renewal. Two-hours of the required 40 hours must include a course related to controlled substance prescribing and the Tennessee treatment guidelines unless you are practicing in a specialty designated by the statute. See the question below for the exemptions in the law.

 

Please contact legal@tnmed.org or call 615-460-1645 if you have any questions or need assistance.


I received a notice from you stating that I have not taken a two-hour prescribing course this year. I did take it and have the certificate. What should I do now?
We did not state in the email that you have not taken the course. The e-mail that you received from the Tennessee Medical Association was a general email sent to physicians as a courtesy reminder of the CME deadline only. We do not know if you have taken the course or not for your next licensure renewal.

I received an email from you regarding CME. Why did I receive this? I’ve never had to take this course before. 
The e-mail that you received from the Tennessee Medical Association was sent to all physician members as a courtesy reminder of the CME deadline only. We do not know if you are required to take this course or not.  
 

CME Certificates

I have obtained all the required CME for the renewal of my license. Do I need to send them to the licensing board?
No. You will only need to provide your CME certificates if you are chosen by the licensing board for a random audit. If so, the board will send you a letter notifying you that you are being audited and where to send your CME certificates. The board typically notifies you in the month following the month you renewed your license. Otherwise, there is nothing else you need to do except keep your CME certificates on file for four years.

How long do I have to maintain the CME certificates?
The certificates must be retained for four years from the end of the calendar year in which the CME was acquired.
 

Course Content

Does the course I took meet the requirements from the licensing board for the two-hour requirement?
We are only able to assure physicians that the course provided by TMA meets all the requirements from their licensing board. TMA’s course is available online and may be accessed by clicking here. You will need to compare the syllabus of the course to the requirements of the licensing boards lists in rule. 

For medical doctors (Board of Medical Examiners):
Unless exempt under T.C.A. § 63-1-402(c), all licensees holding a current Tennessee
license shall complete a minimum of two (2) of the forty (40) required hours of
continuing education related to controlled substance prescribing, which must include
instruction in the Department’s treatment guidelines on opioids, benzodiazepines,
barbiturates, and carisoprodol and may include topics such as medicine addiction, risk
management tools, and other topics approved by the Board. [Rule 0880-02-.19 (1)(b)]

For osteopathic physicians (Board of Osteopathic Examination):
At least two (2) of the forty (40) required hours shall be a course(s) designated
specifically to address prescribing practices. The course(s) should include, but not be
limited to, instruction on controlled substance prescribing practices. [Rule 1050-02-.12 (1)(b)]

Compare the syllabus of the course to the licensing board’s requirements for the two-hour course to ensure that it meets all the requirements. If the syllabus does not specifically include the Tennessee treatment guidelines referenced in the medical doctor rule, medical doctors (MDs) should reconsider the course choice.  

FAQ from the BME’s website
Q: How do I know whether my controlled substance prescribing CME will be accepted by the Board?
A: Because the Board does not endorse any particular CME course and thus does not publish available courses to the Board website, Board staff is unable to “approve” CME in advance of a provider’s completion. However, as long as the CME course or courses total two (2) hours, awards AMA or AAFP credits and include instruction in the Tennessee Department of Health’s treatment guidelines on opioids, benzodiazepines, barbiturates and carisoprodol, the course will be accepted. The course must be Tennessee-specific. We cannot accept another state’s prescribing course, the course must specify on its face that it includes Tennessee-specific content.

I am licensed in several states and each one has requirements for CME.  Is there one course that I can take that meets the requirements for every state?
We are not aware of such a course. You should look at the specific CME requirements for every state and compare them to the course syllabus to see if a course will cover more than one state.  You should do this very carefully.  For example, Tennessee’s two-hour requirement must include instruction on the Tennessee specific treatment guidelines (see Rule 0880-02-.19 above).
 

Exemptions

Are there any exemptions to the requirement for the two-hour course related to proper prescribing?
Yes, T.C.A. § 63-1-402 states that the two-hour requirement does not apply to:

1. Providers practicing at a registered pain management clinic; or 
2. Medical doctors or osteopathic physicians board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties, or American Osteopathic Association, or the American Board of Physician Specialties in one or more of the following specialties or subspecialties:
a. Pain management;
b. Anesthesiology;
c. Physical medicine and rehabilitation;
d. Neurology; or
e. Rheumatology.

I have retired from active practice and no longer have an office or see patients. Do I still have to take this course?
If you have an active medical license then you must complete all of the CME requirements required by your licensing board. It does not matter if you have retired from your practice. You must retire your license to be exempt from the CME requirements.  

The affidavit to retire your medical license is available on each board’s website:
Board of Medical Examiners (M.D.) – click here
Board of Osteopathic Examination (D.O.) – click here

I do not write any prescriptions for controlled substances. I do not even have a DEA license. Do I still have to take the two-hour CME course?
Yes. If you have an active medical license then you must complete all of the CME requirements required by your licensing board. It does not matter that you do not have a DEA license. You must retire your license to be exempt from the CME requirements.  

Providers practicing at a registered pain management clinic and medical doctors or osteopathic physicians board certified by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), or American Osteopathic Association (AOA), or the American Board of Physician Specialties (ABPS) in one or more of the following specialties or subspecialties are the only ones exempt from two-hour requirement:
(1) Pain management;
(2) Anesthesiology;
(3) Physical medicine and rehabilitation;
(4) Neurology; or
(5) Rheumatology

The affidavit to retire your medical license is available on each board’s website:
Board of Medical Examiners (M.D.) – click here
Board of Osteopathic Examination (D.O.) – click here
 

License Renewal

Now that I have my CME, how do I renew my license?
When it is time to renew your license, you will renew it online here. You may renew your license beginning 90 days prior to its expiration date. If you have problems renewing online, call 615-532-4384.

I’m not exactly sure of my license renewal date. How do I find it?
You can find the expiration date on the Licensure Verification website for the Tennessee Department of Health. Click here to look it up.