Leftover CME funds consist of any CME balance remaining at the end of the year after earning all the credits required for a licensing or credentialing cycle.
There are a lot of different ways to spend CME money. CME activities can be purchased at a range of price points, offer varying value based on cost per credit earned and have a range of associated costs with them that may not be covered by your CME allowance. The credits one practitioner vs. another depends on more than how much they spend.
While one approach might be for practitioners to divide CME funds equally over a licensing cycle, continuing education, just like life, is rarely that straightforward. A practitioner may fall behind on credits and even miss CME deadlines, having to scramble to catch up. Or a practitioner may want to take advantage of the travel opportunity offered by destination CME conferences even if they don’t need the credits for a particular licensing cycle.
No matter how it happens, leftover CME funds can be a significant asset to practitioners who want to use their education money to try something new. As always, check with your state licensing boards, your employer, and your professional association for precise details regarding your personal credit requirements and spending your CME allowance effectively.
Receive a Free Gift Card with a CME Purchase
Stretch your annual CME budget to accomplish more goals and maximize education benefits with creative ways to use leftover CME funds. There are few better ways to do that in the CME marketplace today than CME with gift cards.
While gift card offers differ by CME provider, they work by acting similarly to a rebate when you make a qualifying CME purchase. American Medical Seminars is among several companies that offer free gift cards contingent on select purchases.
- The receipt for any incentive-associated purchase will designate the value of the gift card separately from the cost of the learning activity.
- This incentive may have implications on your tax reporting obligations. Any reimbursed amount must be declared as personal income for tax purposes.
Schedule an Impromptu CME Getaway
One of the best ways to creatively spend your allowance is on a vacation CME experience in an exciting travel destination.
Each year, hundreds of conferences are held all over the country (and some beyond it), combining the best of in-person learning formats with the unique attractions of a destination. AMS’s list of conference destinations includes vacation capitals in Southwest Florida and the Carolinas.
AMS conferences offer a unique benefit: their schedule. All of our conferences offer half-day (mornings-only) seminars that balance earning credit with free time to spend however your heart desires. See the local sites, make new friends, spend time with family, or simply sip cocktails on the beach. The point is, with options like these, there’s every reason to put a CME getaway on your calendar, even if you already have the credits you need to meet requirements.
Be sure to verify ACCME accreditation before spending CME funds on destination CME, near or far.
Buy Materials For Non-Traditional Credits
Formal AMA Category 1 Credit™ and AMA Category 2 Credit™ activities physicians and other practitioners participate in to earn CME credit and meet requirements have expanded over the years to include a wider range of accredited activities. Both categories of AMA credit now include what’s called self-directed activities with evidence of participation reported directly (self-reported) to the ACCME PARS system and your medical licensing board.
Remember to always check with your state’s medical board to determine your exact licensing requirements. However, many professional associations accept self-directed activities as a part of their AMA Category 1 Credit and AMA Category 2 Credit activity requirements.
Activities with a self-directed component include:
Non-traditional activities for Category 1 Credit
- Point-of-care internet learning
- Medical journals
- Performance improvement
Depending on the activity, the above options require CME provider approval for one or more dimensions of the activity, in addition to the self-directed component.
Non-traditional activities for Category 2 Credit
- Professional enrichment
- Scholarly activities
- Advanced training
Build Your Own Educational Content
Depending on the criteria of your professional organization, physicians may be able to earn credit by building their own CME courses. The AMA and other professional associations consider the research and development of CME courses as an enrichment activity that supports the advancement of medical knowledge of the authoring practitioner as well as those their course serves. Check with the individuals who oversee CME compliance in your healthcare organization before purchasing materials to create your own CME course to ensure reimbursement for this activity.
Here are some steps to creating a CME or professional development course:
- Assess a need or educational gap
- Determine how you plan to accredit and host your activity
- Choose a target audience
- Research the most recent medical developments
- Craft content in accordance with best practice and in conjunction with the course issuing authority
Buy CME Activities to Hone Specific Skills
The CME allowance system is designed to provide flexibility in how and when practitioners earn credit. Additionally, the medical needs of patients and the healthcare system as a whole are best met when physicians and advanced practitioners are deciding what educational gaps need filled to impact the point-of-care.
This flexibility can help use of CME funds for additional skill-specific training, rather than earning credit. In this scenario, practitioners don’t have to worry as much about the number of CME credits per activity and can focus entirely on their educational value. Enduring materials such as on-demand CME are great for this purpose. Purchase online CME with leftover CME funds to complete for credit in the upcoming year.