A Crash Course in SA-CME
An inside look at the ABR's new self-assessment requirements explains how recent changes affect MOC.
Things are changing in the world of maintenance of certification. The ABR has introduced self-assessment CME (SA-CME) credits, interactive education activities that include self-assessment tools.
These credits will join SAMs and CME to aid radiologists in achieving Part 2 of maintenance of certification. David Laszakovits, co-director of certification services at the ABR, spoke with the Bulletin to explain how things are changing and what radiologists need to know in their quest for AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™.
Q. How do the new SA-CME credits work?
A. At the beginning of the year, the ABR broadened the definition of what counts toward the Part 2 self-assessment requirement. Before, the only valid form of self-assessment was a SAM. Now the definition of what counts toward self-assessment has been broadened to include all enduring-material category-1 CME (printed, recorded, or computer-presented education activities) and journal-based CME activities, in addition to SAMs. This category of credit is called SA-CME.
Q. What prompted these changes?
A. The ABR introduced SA-CME in response to 2009 ABMS standards that required one-third of radiologists' CME to be self-assessment CME. Beginning in January 2013, SAMs will still be valid forms of self-assessment, but we've also included other activities that previously haven't counted toward that self-assessment requirement. So this change increases the availability of qualifying resources and makes it easier for radiologists to fulfill the requirements.
Q. What is the difference between SAMs, CME, and SA-CME?
A. SAMs are self-assessment modules that must be approved by the ABR or an authorized provider in order to count towards MOC. SA-CMEs also count as self-assessment modules, but they do not require ABR approval. While all SAMs qualify as SA-CME, SA-CME is not limited to SAMs. Some CME activities also count as a SA-CME. Again, these activities are limited to enduring material CME and journal-based CME certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.
Q. How does this change the way radiologists complete their MOC Part 2 requirements?
A. Instead of needing 250 CME credits and 20 SAM credits over a 10-year period, radiologists will now need 75 Category 1 CME credits over a three-year period. Of those 75, at least 25 must be SA-CME credits. So you have a lot of options. You could do all of your self-assessment as SAMs or you could meet the self-assessment requirement by not doing any SAMs, by just doing SA-CME. You could also do a combination of both — some SA-CME and some SAMs.
Q. So radiologists don't actually have to change their approach to MOC if they don't want to?
A. Exactly. They just have more options if they so choose. If they want to just do CME and SAM credits and not worry about SA-CME, that won't affect their MOC Part 2 requirements. Just note that in some practice areas, it might be difficult to find enough relevant SAM credits per year. That's why the ABR changed its requirements to include SA-CME, which substantially increases the number of available options.
By Lyndsee Cordes