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License Requirements

The Washington State Medical Commission requires physicians to complete 200 hours of Continuing Medical Education (CME) every 4 years as part of re-licensure. Of those 200 hours, all may be acquired in Category I, or in any combination of Categories I-V (not to exceed more than 80 hours in any category other than I).

In lieu of the 200 hour requirement, the Commission will accept a current certificate from any specialty board approved by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS), or the AMA Physician's Recognition Award (PRA). Basic requirements for the 3-year PRA are at least 150 hours of CME, 60 earned in AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ and up to 90 hours in either AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ or AMA PRA Category 2 Credits™. You may apply for the AMA PRA online. 

As an accredited CME provider, PeaceHealth St. Joseph must meet the Washington State Medical Association requirements for all activities designated for Category 1 credit.

Definition of CME:

CME consists of educational activities which serve to maintain, develop, or increase the knowledge, skills, and professional performance and relationships that a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is the body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine, and the provision of health care to the public. (Source: AMA Physician's Recognition Award Booklet 2017 Revision

AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ CME activities must: 

  • Conform to the AMA’s definition of CME.
  • Address demonstrated educational needs.
  • Communicate to prospective participants a clearly identified educational purpose and/or objectives in advance of participation in the activity. 
  • Be designed using AMA approved learning formats and learning methodologies appropriate to the activity’s educational purpose and/or objectives; credit must be based on AMA guidelines for the type of learning format used. 
  • Present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended physician audience. 
  • Be planned in accordance with the relevant AMA Council on Ethical and Judicial Affairs (CEJA) opinions and the ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education, and be non-promotional in nature.
  • Evaluate the effectiveness in achieving its educational purpose and/or objectives. 
  • Document credits claimed by physicians for a minimum of six years.
  • Be certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™  in advance of the activity, i.e. an activity may not be retroactively approved for credit. 
  • Include the AMA Credit Designation Statement in any activity materials that reference CME credit with the exception of “save the date” or similar notices.   

AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™ may be self-designated and claimed by individual physicians for participation in activities not certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, that:  

  • Comply with the AMA definition of CME;
  • Comply with relevant AMA ethical opinions on Gifts to Physicians from Industry [8.061] and Continuing Medical Education [9.011];
  • Are not promotional;
  • A physician finds to be a worthwhile learning experience related to his/her practice. 

Examples of this type of learning activity include: Teaching physicians, residents, medical students or other health professionals; unstructured online searching and learning (i.e., not IPOC); reading authoritative medical literature, consultation with peers and medical experts; self-assessment activities; small group discussions; medical writing; research; peer review and quality assurance participation.  Physicians should claim AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™ for appropriate activities directly from the AMA.   

Accredited providers may not certify activities for AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™ or advertise that any activity qualifies for such credit.  

What is the difference between AAFP Prescribed credit and AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™

When a CME activity is accredited for AAFP Prescribed credit, it means that an application and supporting material were reviewed and approved by the American Association of Family Physicians' Commission on Continuing Professional Development (COCPD). An AAFP Active or Life member was involved in the development of the activity, and the content is directly related to patient care and patient care delivery. 

When a CME activity is designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™, the CME activity is directly or jointly sponsored by CME providers who are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) or an authorized state medical society. 

Is AAFP Prescribed credit accepted by other associations? 

AAFP Prescribed credit is accepted by the AMA as equivalent to AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ toward the AMA Physician's Recognition Award. Many of the state licensing boards will accept AAFP Prescribed credit from members to meet CME requirements. AAFP recommends that participants contact their association to see if they will accept AAFP Prescribed credit.​