September 17, 2019 @ 8:30 am
Iris Conference Room
556 Mainstream Dr
TN 37228

BME Looking at Significant Changes to TN CME Rules

The Tennessee Board of Medical Examiners (BME) has scheduled a rulemaking hearing for September 17, 2019 to consider major changes affecting Tennessee physician compliance with the Board’s continuing medical education rules.

Member physicians have been frustrated by the rules currently in place for several years, expressing confusion that has resulted in disciplinary action for failure to comply with CME requirements. Under current rules, if a physician is required to renew his/her license at any time during calendar year 2019, then in order to comply with the CME requirement he/she must have earned the requisite 40 hours of CME during calendar years 2017 and 2018.

The BME is seeking to change the rule to require the requisite 40 CME hours to be earned “during the twenty-four (24) months that [immediately] precede licensure renewal.” That means that, for example, if a physician’s birthday renewal month would fall in October of 2020, then to be in compliance with the state CME rules, all 40 hours of CME would have had to be earned between September 2018 and September 2020. If the rule change is approved, the rule would be easier to understand but physicians may get tripped up in the transition if they are not unaware of the change.

The BME’s proposed changes would not alter the 2-hour prescribing course mandate currently in rules.

Yarnell Beatty, TMA General Counsel clarifies, “Physicians renewing in 2019 will continue to fall under the current ‘2 calendar year’ rule in place. We will notify members if the rule changes for 2020 or thereafter. We encourage physicians to submit comments as to which rule they like better, although in the long run the proposed rule may make physician compliance simpler.”

Other changes in the works include similar rule changes for licensure reinstatement and reactivation of a retired license. Both of these proposed changes would also require twenty (20) hours of CME to be performed in the 12 months prior to reinstatement or reactivation of a license. Similar proposals are in the works for reinstatement or reactivation (but not for renewal) of an x-ray operator license for individuals holding certificates to perform x-rays in a physician’s office.

So far, the Board of Osteopathic Examination has not issued a rulemaking notice to make similar changes. If it does, NAM and TMA will notify our members.

Finally, this month the Department of Health announced it is proposing to raise the penalty for healthcare practitioners, including physicians, who fail to comply with the cancer reporting law in place since the 1980s. The current rule requires any hospital, laboratory, or healthcare practitioner who fails to timely report a diagnosis of cancer to the Tennessee Department of Health to pay a maximum fee of $50 per case if the Department of Health sends a representative to gather the information from the entity or practitioner. The rule change would raise that amount to $70 plus “reasonable ancillary and travel expenses” if the Department has to directly examine the patient medical records.

NAM members can submit comments to TMA by September 10 at legal@tnmed.org.

CME Rulemaking Hearing Details
September 17, 2019 at 8:30 AM Central
Iris Conference Room
556 Mainstream Drive
Nashville, TN 37228

Members of the public can submit comments directly to the BME:

Mary Katherine Bratton
Chief Deputy General Counsel
Office of General Counsel
665 Mainstream Drive, 2nd Floor
Nashville, TN 37243

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