Continuing Medical Education Requirement for ACSCs and QACSCs
All (Q)ACSC holders must ensure that they provide the best possible care to their patients by participating in CME activities specific to the prescribing of controlled drugs.
Board and Commission rules require (Q)ACSC holders to obtain certain CME credits for renewal. QACSC holders must also obtain certain credits before applying for an initial registration.
The Licensee Portal features a CME documentation upload that our (Q)ACSC holders can use as a repository. We urge you to take advantage of this feature.
NOTICE: The ACSC CME requirement was waived for all licensees for 2020. The two-year period to obtain two credits is extended by one year. If your two-year period was 2019-2020, it is now 2019-2021, and 2020-2021 is now 2020-2022. The two-year period for QACSC holders to obtain four CME credits is likewise extended.
Requirement for ACSCs (MD/DO)
Two (2) AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ or equivalent every two years in the areas of:
- Controlled substance prescribing practices,
- Recognizing signs of the abuse or misuse of controlled substances, or
- Controlled substance prescribing for chronic pain management.
Any program in these areas is acceptable to meet the CME credits required of all ACSC holders every two years. You do not need to obtain pre-approval of the courses you choose.
Requirement for QACSCs (CRNP/CNM/PA)
- Initial QACSC:
- Complete within 12 months preceding the application twelve AMA PRA Category 1 credits that include the course “Prescribing and Pharmacology of Controlled Drugs: Current Issues and Strategies for Successful Patient Care" (8 credits) and four credits through a Board-approved course relating to advanced pharmacology and prescribing trends.
- QACSC Renewal:
- Obtain four AMA PRA Category 1 credits every two years through a Board-approved course.
List of Approved Prescribing Courses
I hold an ACSC but I am exempt from the annual 25-credit requirement for license renewal. Do I still have to obtain these credits?
Yes. ACSC holders who are otherwise exempt from the CME requirement (residents, fellows, initial licensure year, military service) must still obtain the two credits every two years.
Does the Board have to pre-approve the courses I take? Does it have to be a live activity? Does it have to be obtained in Alabama?
No. You do not need to obtain pre-approval from the Board for the course you choose. Just be sure the course confers AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and is in one of the required areas. The course may be live, through the internet or any other method as long as the activity confers AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. It does not have to be obtained from a CME activity in Alabama.
I do not prescribe opioids at all. Does the CME requirement apply to me?
Yes. All physicians holding an ACSC are subject to the new CME requirement. The CME can be in the areas of prescribing controlled substances generally and recognizing signs of abuse and misuse. Activities in specific areas such as the use of controlled substances in the treatment of ADD or mental disorders, for example, would meet the requirement.
I attended a multi-topic conference but only received one certificate for the entire conference. What should I keep as documentation of having earned two credits in controlled substances?
Keep with your certificate a copy of the conference agenda that shows the controlled substances topic(s) and the time(s) those topics were covered.
If I receive my two credits in one year and they count toward the 25 credit requirement for license renewal, can I also apply those credits towards the 25-credit requirement for the following year?
When does the two year period during which I am required to obtain two CME credits start?
The two-year period is determined by calendar year. If you received your ACSC in July 2019, for example, you have until Dec. 31, 2020, to obtain the two credits.
How do I register for the 12 CME credits required for an initial QACSC?
The eight-hour course, “Prescribing Controlled Drugs; Critical Issues and Common Pitfalls,” is presented by the Board and the Medical Association of the State of Alabama. Please see the Medical Association’s education web page.
The four-hour course(s) must be approved by the Board. The approved courses are listed here.
I am a physician assistant (or nurse practitioner) with a QACSC. Do I have to meet the CME requirement in the Risk and Abuse Mitigation Strategies rule?
No. As a QACSC holder, you have an existing CME requirement to which you must adhere (see Rules 540-X-12- .05(3) and 540-X-18-.05(2)).