Continuing Medical Education and Inactive License Status

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The Physician Assistant Board (Board) is conducting an audit of Continuing Medical Education (CME) compliance pursuant to section 1399.617 of title 16 of the California Code of Regulations. This regulation authorizes the Board to audit a random sample of physician assistants who have reported compliance with the CME requirement by signing the CME statement on their renewal notice. If selected, you are required to provide documentation to the board regarding your compliance of the CME requirements listed below.

The documentation requested as part of the audit is mandatory. Please note that failing to provide the requested information to the board is unprofessional conduct for which you may be cited, and

  • Your license status may be changed to inactive until you provide proof of CME compliance to the board. If this happens, you would not be able to engage in an activity for which a license is required.
  • You will be required to make up the deficient CME hours during your next renewal period.
  • Your next license renewal application will not be approved by the board until proof of CME compliance is received.

Please note: CME audit letters will be mailed to the current address of record. Use this link Breeze to verify your address of record. Use this link Address Changes for information on how to change your address of record.

 

APPROVED CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION INFORMATION

The Physician Assistant Board regulations (Title 16 of the California Code of Regulations Section 1399.615 et seq.) mandated by Business and Professions Code Section 3524.5 require a physician assistant to complete continuing medical education as a condition of license renewal.

The requirement may be met by either one of the methods listed below:

  • Be certified by the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants (NCCPA) at the time of renewal.

OR

  • Complete 50 hours of Category 1 (preapproved) medical education every two years immediately preceding the expiration date of your license;

The CME must have been obtained from providers that are designed Category 1 (preapproved by one of the following sponsors):

  • American Academy of Physician Assistants (AAPA).
  • American Medical Association (AMA).
  • American Osteopathic Association Council on Continuing Medical Education (AOACCME).
  • American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP).
  • Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME).
  • A state medical society recognized by the ACCME.

Continuing medical education obtained from a program other than those specified above does not satisfy the continuing medical education requirements.

 

REPORTING CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION COMPLIANCE

On and after January 2011, each physician assistant will be required to certify on the renewal notice his or her compliance with the continuing medical education requirements.

DOCUMENTATION OF CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION

California Code of Regulations Section 1399.615 permits a physician assistant must retain, for a period of four years after the acquisition of the necessary continuing medical education, records issued by an approved continuing medical education provider that indicate the title of the course or program attended, the dates of attendance, and the hours assigned to the course or program.

If a physician assistant is certified by the NCCPA at the time of license renewal, evidence of certification must be retained for four (4) years after such certification is issued.

CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION WAIVERS

California Code of Regulations Section 1399.618 permits a physician assistant who is unable to complete the minimum continuing medical education requirements due to reasons of health, military service, or undue hardship may request a waiver of continuing medical education requirement. A physician assistant who submits an application for a continuing medical education waiver that is denied by the Physician Assistant Board shall be ineligible for active renewal of his or her license unless the licensee complies with the continuing medical education requirements of Section 1399.615. A physician assistant who does not have an approved CME waiver at the time of renewal must comply with CME requirements or may renew the license in an inactive status.

To request a continuing medical education waiver please complete an Application for Medical Education Waiver form and submit to the Board. For a practicing licensee, the Board recommends submitting any request for a waiver approximately 6 months before the expiration of the license.

INACTIVE STATUS

California Code of Regulations Section 1399.619 permits a licensee who is not actively performing medical services in the State of California to maintain licensure in an inactive license status. A licensee on inactive status may not perform medical services.

If your California physician assistant license is currently suspended, revoked or otherwise restricted by the Board, an inactive license status cannot be granted.

To request inactive status please submit a Request for Inactive License Status form to the Board.

Important points to remember:

  • Inactivating a license does not change its expiration date and the renewal fee is the same as the fee for an active license. There are no fee exemptions for inactive licenses. An inactive license must be renewed during the same time period in which an active license is renewed.
  • If you are renewing at the same time as you apply for an inactive status, you must submit the full renewal fee with this application.
  • If the license is delinquent, a payment of all accrued renewal fees and delinquency fee must be submitted.
  • If your physician assistant license has not expired, no fee is required at this time.
  • Once on inactive status, you will be exempt from complying with the continuing medical education requirements.
  • The inactive status of any licensee does not deprive the Board of its authority to institute or continue any disciplinary or enforcement action against the licensee.

REMEMBER: If you hold an inactive license, you cannot engage in any activity in California for which an active physician assistant license is required.

ACTIVATING AN INACTIVE STATUS LICENSE

To restore an inactive license to active status you must:

  • Pay the renewal fee and delinquency fee, if applicable.
  • You must also complete continuing medical education equivalent to that required for a single renewal period of an active license. The CME must have been obtained within the last two years prior to applying to restore the license to active status.
  • You may also comply with the continuing medical education requirements by maintaining your certification by the NCCPA.
  • Activating your inactive status license does not extend the expiration date of your license. The same expiration date will apply.

AUDIT AND SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE

California Code of Regulations Section 1399.617 states falsely representing compliance with CME requirements is considered unprofessional conduct and is a basis for enforcement action. The Board may issue a citation or take discipline against the licensee, up to and including revocation of the license.

In addition to any enforcement action, any physician assistant found not to have completed the required number of hours of approved continuing medical education, or found not to hold a valid certification from the NCCPA at the time of renewal, will be required to make up any deficiency during the next biennial renewal period.

After identifying a deficiency in an audit, a physician assistant will be required to fulfill and document any deficient hours identified to the Board. Any physician assistant who fails to make up the deficient hours during the following renewal period is ineligible for renewal of his or her license until such time as the deficient hours of continuing medical education are documented to the Board.

CONTINUING MEDICAL EDUCATION REGULATIONS

Section 1399.615 Continuing Medical Education Required.

Section 1399.616 Approved Continuing Medical Education Programs.

Section 1399.617 Audit and Sanctions for Noncompliance.

Section 1399.618. Waiver of Continuing Medical Education Requirement.

Section 1399.619. Inactive Status.