Sidney Kimmel Medical College
Office of CPD
Jefferson Alumni Hall
1020 Locust Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107
Phone: (215) 955-6992
Toll Free: 1-877-JEFF-CPD
Fax: (215) 923-3212

Office of Continuing Professional Development
Pennsylvania Medical Licenses and CME Requirements

As the end of the year approaches, physicians in Pennsylvania become concerned with completing their licensing procedures with the Commonwealth. This brief article is designed to help answer any questions you may have about the CME requirements for licensing in Pennsylvania, and to provide information on resources for acquiring patient safety/risk management credits. We hope that this provides you with a better understanding of CME.

Special Requirements

NEW Requirement: 2 Category 1 CME Credits in OPIOID EDUCATION and how to get them

Physicians and surgeons licensed in Pennsylvania are now required to have at least two (2) hours in specific, state-identified topics related to opioids as part of state's biannual relicensing process. The education can be any of three specific areas:

  • Practices of Prescribing or Dispensing of Opioids
  • Pain Management
  • Identification of Addiction

Jefferson CPD/CME can help you meet this new requirement by providing online courses on these topics. Three courses are available free to all Jefferson faculty and employed Jefferson Health Physicians; they can also count towards your patient safety license renewal requirements.


Ongoing Requirement for Child for Child Abuse Reporting Training

Options for meeting this requirement online:
There is a free course at

  • When this requirement was introduced in 2016, many Jefferson physicians met it by completing this course; we heard very positive feedback about it from our physicians.

Members of the Pennsylvania Medical Society can take an online course in Child Abuse Reporting at:

Frequently Asked Questions

Additional Information


How do I report my Opioid Training to the state?

You will be required to attest on your license renewal that you have completed the required 2 credits in opioid education. You will only need to provide your CME certificate to the state if you are audited.

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What are the State CME licensure requirements for MDs?

You need 100 total credits for the two-year period (January 2017-December 2018)

  • 20 of which must be AMA Category 1 Credit
  • 12 must be Patient Safety credit (can be Category 1 or Category 2)
  • 2 must be in one of the three topics approved for Opioid Education AND
  • 2 must be from an approved Child Abuse Reporting course

Remember BOTH AMA Category 1 Credits (which are designated by a CME Provider) and Category 2 credits (which the physician claims and records on their own) can be used to satisfy the state CME requirements for patient safety and opioid education.

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What Counts for patient safety/risk management requirement?

The State Board of Medicine has approved the following list of topics that will satisfy the patient safety/risk management requirement:

  • Improving medical records and record keeping
  • Reducing medical errors
  • Professional conduct and ethics
  • Improving communication among physicians and with other health care personnel
  • Communication between physicians and patients
  • Preventive medicine education
  • Health care quality improvement

As long as the CME activity falls within these topics, you can count it toward the patient safety/risk management requirement. The course does not have to state, and very likely may not, that it is a patient safety or risk management course.

Examples of activities that you can use for patient safety/risk management credits include attendance at Morbidity and Mortality Conferences, courses attended that include topics related to those listed above (count only those sessions that are related), completing online and print-based activities in the areas listed above, or those specifically targeting patient safety or risk management as the topic.

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Can patient safety, risk management and opioid education requirements be met with either Category 1 CME or Category 2 CME credits?

According to the regulations, the patient safety, risk management, and opioid education credit requirements can be in either Category 1 or Category 2.

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Do required Healthstream Courses Count toward licensing requirements?

Some of the TJUH required Healthstream courses can be counted as Category 2 credit, and can be used to satisfy the patient safety/risk management requirements. Healthstream courses required annually can count for each year that they were completed. These courses include:

  • Joint Commission Patient Safety
  • Bloodborne Pathogens
  • Hazardous Communication
  • Emergency Management
  • Isolation Precautions
  • Radiation Safety
  • Cultural Competency
  • Identifying and Assessing Victims of Abuse and Neglect
  • Data Security

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If I have 12 Category 1 credit hours in patient safety or risk management topics, may I count these for both the Category 1 requirement and the patient safety/risk management requirement?

Yes. If any of the patient safety credit hours that a physician has earned are Category 1 credit hours, they can be counted toward both the Category 1 requirement and the patient safety/risk management requirement.

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How do I prove Category 2 credits if I am audited?

The regulations state that Category 2 credit hours must be documented in the form of a physician log or diary.

Documentation should include:

  • The date the activity was completed
  • A description of the activity (article title, resident teaching, consultation with peers, etc.)
  • Location (name of journal, hospital, home study, website, etc.)
  • The number of credits claimed (actual time spent in the activity)

View the PA State Form for Category 2 Reporting

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What if I don't know my License Renewal Registration Code?

Here are the directions to receive the registration code for medical license renewal online. Each Physician is notified originally via Mail of the registration code.

  • If a practitioner has no record of his/her registration code to renew his/her license on-line,
  • The Pa State Board of Medicine will forward the number via email.
  • Email your request to the state board of Medicine:, (State in the email your request for the registration code and provide the last 4 digits of physicians' social security number, date of birth and full name)

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What will I need to report to in order to renew my license?

The State Board of Medicine is not requiring a report of CME at the time of license renewal. The license renewal form will contain an area for physicians to attest that they have completed the required hours. By attesting that the requirement is completed, a physician may be subject to a random audit by the Board of Medicine. If audited, a physician will need to show evidence of the completion of the required credit hours. Failure to produce the requested evidence will result in a fine and possible suspension of license.

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Who regulates CME?

Two organizations share the responsibility nationally for CME accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) accredits organizations (like Jefferson and other academic medical centers) to provide AMA Category 1 credit.

The American Medical Association (AMA) identifies the types of activities that can receive credit, and sets the rules for which whether an activity can be designated as Category 1 or claimed as Category 2. In addition, the AMA directly gives credit for some specific Category 1 activities that are not designated by an ACCME accredited provider (i.e., publishing an article).

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The American Medical Association (AMA) defines a national standard of continuing medical education (CME): "...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. CME represents that 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" (

Not all continuing education activities that physicians may engage in, however, are CME. Physicians may participate in worthwhile continuing education activities that are not related directly to their professional work, and these activities are not CME. Typically service on committees or direct patient care activities are not considered CME. Continuing educational activities that respond to a physician's non-professional educational need or interest, such as personal financial planning, and appreciation of literature or music, are not CME (

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What types of activities qualify for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit?

AMA PRA Category 1 creditTM is the most widely recognized term for physician CME. Category 1 activities have been formally planned and designated for credit toward the AMA Physicians Recognition Award (PRA) by an ACCME accredited provider. The following activities can be designated by an ACCME-approved provider for Category 1 credit:

  • Live activities
  • Enduring materials (i.e.-CD-Rom, online courses, videotape)
  • Journal-based CME
  • Web-based activities
  • New procedures and skills courses that train and certify physicians to conduct new medical procedures

Ways that you can earn Category 1 Credits through an accredited provider*

  • Test Item Writing
  • Performance Improvement CME
  • Point of Care CME
  • Manuscript Reviews

*these require specific designation for credit by a provider, and should not be claimed on your own

The ACCME approved provider distributes Certificates to the participants, and is required to maintain records of participation for six years.

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How can I get Category 1 Credit directly from the AMA for teaching, publishing and other educational activities?

Physicians may also earn Category 1 credit for activities that are not designated as such by providers. To receive credit for these activities, you must submit a request directly to the AMA. A description of these activities and how to earn credits for them are outlined in the attached chart. They include:

  • Presenting at a Category 1 conference, seminar, or symposium
  • Publishing articles
  • Poster presentations
  • Obtaining a medically related advanced degree
  • American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board certification and recertification
  • ACGME accredited education
  • International conference recognition

To obtain an application for AMA directly certified credited Category 1 activities, go to or call the AMA at 312-464-5296.

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What types of activities qualify for Category 2 Credit?

Category 2 credit is the term used by the AMA for activities physicians undertake on their own that should be beneficial to their practice. These activities are not formally planned and designated for Category 1 credit by accredited providers. The AMA does not permit us to give you a certificate for a Category 2 activity. See below for the PA Category 2 Recording Form. Examples include:

  • Consultations with peers and experts
  • Medical research and study online
  • Using non-designated enduring materials
  • Teaching residents, medical students or other health professionals
  • Reading authoritative medical literature
  • Self assessment activities
  • Medical writing
  • Preceptorships

It is the physician's responsibility to identify and document Category 2 activities. However, these activities must meet the AMA definition of CME (see above), and comply with the AMA ethical opinions on Gifts to Physicians and Ethical Issues in CME, and be a "worthwhile learning experience related to his/her practice."

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Are there additional resources for Patient Safety and Risk Management Credits?

Resources to help physicians obtain the required credits in patient safety and risk management.

Through Jefferson-approved Category 1 CME activities:

  • The program director of CME approved grand rounds and other regularly scheduled conferences can identify specific sessions that fall within the topics identified by the State Board of Medicine. Attendance at these sessions is reported to the Office of CME automatically through CPD@JeffLearn (texting).

  • Sessions during other Jefferson-approved conferences are identified and documented for patient safety or risk management credits, and documented as they occur. These credits are posted to our online CME credit retrieval system.

Through self-declared attendance at qualified meetings.

  • Morbidity and Mortality Conferences: ALL M&M Conferences are considered patient safety credit for PA licensing purposes. While not all of these are currently certified for Category 1 credit, your documented attendance at an M&M conference that is not Category 1 certified can be counted towards your required patient safety / risk management credits as a Category 2 activity.

  • Other Jefferson non-CME approved conferences that address topics as indicated by the State Board of Medicine that can be documented if audited can be counted toward these credits as well.
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How can I get CME credit?

In general, you can receive credit for the items listed below. Details pertaining to AMA credit for each activity below are provided. Note that the AMA will provide 25 Category 1 credits for your Board Recertification process.

ActivityType of creditAmount of creditWho gives the credit?
Attend a live activity that has been designated for creditAMA Category 1Number of credits pre-designatedaccredited provider
Publish an article as first or second lead author in journals indexed by the Index MedicusAMA Category 110 credits per articleAMA
Teach at a live activity approved for AMA PRA category 1 creditAMA Category 12 credits per lecture hour for FIRST time lecture is delivered up to a maximum of 10 creditsAMA
Prepare a poster presentation, which is also included in the published abstracts, for a live activity approved for AMA PRA category 1 creditAMA Category 15 credits per posterAMA
Complete American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) member board certification and recertificationAMA Category 125 creditsAMA
Complete medically related advanced degrees, such as a masters in public healthAMA Category 125 creditsAMA
Teach residents, medical students or other health professionalsAMA Category 2Actual timeSelf-designated
Utilize online study resourcesAMA Category 2Actual timeSelf-designated
Read authoritative medical literatureAMA Category 2Actual timeSelf-designated
Complete approved enduring materials

Complete non-designated enduring materials (ie, not designated by a provider for Category 1)

AMA Category 1
AMA Category 2
Number of credits pre-designated

Actual time

Accredited provider


Conduct medical researchAMA Category 2Actual timeSelf-designated
Consult with peersAMA Category 2Actual timeSelf-designated

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How can I document and track my CME credits?

Records for Jefferson-sponsored CME credits are all housed in our learning management system known as CPD@JeffLEARN.

To retrieve your transcript in CPD@JeffLEARN, login at MY JEFFERSON CME ACTIVITIES using your CPD@JeffLEARN username and password (which is different from your campus key). Once you are logged in, you'll see a series of tabs representing each type of CME activity offered by Jefferson: Enduring credit (for online courses), Live credit (for conferences/ symposia), and Session credit (for grand rounds, tumor boards, and other regularly scheduled series).

Download a transcript by type of activity by clicking on each relevant tab and entering the correct event date range (From January 2017, To December 2018) and click "Apply" to access your transcripts. There is a help page/tutorial on our home page to take you through this process step-by-step.

It is recommended that you keep a running list of activities in which you have participated as well as a folder for CME documentation. On your list, include the activity date and title, accredited provider, location, type of credit, and number of credits. You may also specify special content (i.e., patient safety) to help track specific requirements.

For activities designated for Category 1 credit by accredited providers, you will receive CME certificates. Keep these certificates in your CME folder as documentation. It is also a good idea to keep copies of your publications, agendas from Category 1 activities at which you presented, and any other non-designated activities for which you may request Category 2 credit in this folder. If you are applying for the AMA PRA, you will need to list your CME activities as well as provide documentation for non-designated Category 2 credits. Remember, the State Board of Medicine may audit your records to document your license renewal statements relating to continuing education.

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  • Attendance at Department M&M Conferences. 1 CME credit per conference. Requires formal sign- in sheet and log noting attendance and topic.

*while not all departmental M&M Conferences carry Category 1 CME credit, all can be used toward patient safety and risk management credit requirements.

External Sources for CME Credit

CME credits
  • Web M&M Cases
Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality
Free of charge

CME credit is available by registering, completing the module and taking the quiz.
This site features "Morbidity and Mortality Rounds on the Web", expert analysis of medical errors reported anonymously by our readers, interactive learning modules on patient safety, and forums for online discussion.
  • Appropriate documentation: Your first (and best) defense

  • Standard of Care: Does it exist in every malpractice case?

  • Informed consent: Know rules and exceptions, when they apply
Thomson's Free CMEPhysicians will need to register for this site in order to take the course and receive CME credits.

Free of charge

1.0 - 2.0 credit hour per AMA cert. course:
Site can be searched for Patient Safety or medico-legal courses including communication between physicians and patients.
  • Hand hygiene
  • Informed consent
  • Disclosure
University of PittsburghAccessed free of charge.

Certificates can be printed out immediately following completion of the module.

Registration required.
Several web modules related to patient safety and risk management.
  • Topics include risk management and patient safety content.
A team of medical editors and writers create Teaching Brief articles.Free of charge.

0.25 AMA PRA Category 1 credits for each Teaching Brief and post-test completed.

Registration required.

There is no charge to take the test, to receive credits or obtain your certificate.

Clinicians can print a CME/CE certificate directly from the website.
MedPage Today physician-reviewed Teaching Brief® articles include news summaries and information regarding the latest medical news.

Other CME Sites
Content updated: August 2018

Following are suggested sites for physicians who want to obtain CME credit online or who want information on national CME programs/events to attend:

Pennsylvania Medical Society Patient Safety/Risk Management Resources - The PA Medical Society offers a variety of Category 1 and 2 activities focused on safety.

Medscape from WebMD - Medscape offers continuously updated continuing education activities by specialty for physicians and other health professionals. There are over 100 courses to choose from that have been developed by ACCME-accredited organizations. It is recommended that you use the following guidelines for searching the site to identify courses that will qualify as patient safety topics.

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Glossary of CME Terms

Accreditation: The decision by the ACCME, or a recognized state medical society, that an organization has met the requirements for a CME provider as outlined by the ACCME. The standard term of accreditation is four years.

AMA Physician's Recognition Award (PRA): An award issued by the AMA to physicians who have documented completion of 50 hours of continuing medical education per year. The AMA offers one, two, and three-year certificates for the AMA PRA. Physicians must complete an application documenting the CME credits and submit a processing fee between $29 and $58 to apply for the award.

Cognates: Designation of CME offerings that have been reviewed and approved by the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG). The CME offerings that award COGNATES are directed toward OB/GYN physicians.

Elective Credit: CME credit for AAFP members that has not met the criteria for or may not have been submitted for review as Prescribed credit.

Enduring Materials: Enduring materials are printed, recorded or computer-assisted instructional materials which may be used over time at various locations and which in themselves constitute a planned CME activity. Examples of such materials for independent physician learning include: programmed texts, audio-tapes, videotapes and computer assisted instructional materials which are used alone or in combination with written materials. Books, journals (unless specifically designated) and manuals are not classified as enduring materials.

Prescribed: CME credit from an activity that has been developed and submitted in accordance with AAFP requirements and that has subsequently been reviewed and approved by the appropriate section of the AAFP.

Self Directed Learning: Individual learner's initiative and responsibility to (with or without assistance) identify, assess, and set priorities for learning needs; define goals; select and organize learning activities; and evaluate outcomes in terms of performance.

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Additional Resources

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To Contact Jefferson CME

Sidney Kimmel Medical College Office of Continuing Medical Education
Phone: 1-888-JEFF-CME or 215-955-6992
Fax: 215-923-3212