Regularly Scheduled Series - Frequently Asked Questions


Q: Who is required to earn CME credit?

A: CME credit is understood by our office to mean AMA category 1 credits or their equivalent, if available by reciprocal agreement. Housetaff are not required to earn CME credits, but all practicing physicians are required. Other healthcare providers also may require continuing education credits and, if not available by reciprocal agreement will require an additional application, and fees, (i.e. nurse, nurse practitioner, , pharmacist or specific specialty organizations.

Q: At Case Conference, Research Conference, and similar meetings faculty and fellows discuss their ongoing research. Do we need to have biosketches and objectives for each?

A: Our policy for the open discussion forum series, like M&M and case conferences is that no additional objectives are required other than those created for the whole series and submitted with the application. For speaker-based series, like grand rounds or for a research conference, the series objectives are required as part of the application and a focused objective is required for each speaker/lecture. Biosketches/CV are only mandatory for visiting faculty (non-Hopkins) and should be stored with the records until submitted at the end of the CME yearly cycle (July 31).

Q: If our Grand Rounds program was approved 3 years ago, do we now submit it as a new program?

A: Yes, this would be considered a new program. All programs will be accredited as part of a 2-year cycle, with the present cycle startingAugust 1, 2005 and ending July 31, 2007. Applications submitted in December 2005 will be included in this cycle and will effectively get 18 months of approval. No independent cycle approvals will be issued.

Q: How do we communicate the objectives to the learners before the activity?

A: For all RSS, the series objectives (the objectives submitted with the application) should be communicated by email to all faculty immediately upon the division or department receiving an approval letter from the CME office for that activity. The CME office should be copied on that message for the files. An individual speaker's objectives must be provided to the learners in advance of the presentation. The four most common mechanisms to handle this include:

Q: If my department has several RSSs, do I have to submit an application for each?

A: Yes. OCME must receive an application for every RSC for which the department would like to have CME credit awarded.

Q: What happens if I apply for CME credit after August?

A: We are working on a 2-year cycle: August 2005 - July 2007. If you apply after August 2005 your program will still expire in July 2007.

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Record keeping

Q: Do we send in the sign-in sheets along with the excel spreadsheet?

A: Yes, the sign-in sheets are to be returned to us along with the excel spreadsheet and all other end of the cycle materials on a yearly basis. This means the first submission is by July 31, 2006.

Q: Can we send in the sign-in sheets, etc. from the previous years and get credit?

A: OCME cannot back-enter credit from previous years

Q: If a Hopkins physician earns credit elsewhere by attending or participating in a CME activity, is Hopkins going to track these credits for him/her?

A: No, not at this time. We are only tracking the CME credit faculty earn in Hopkins accredited RSC activities through the sign-in sheets, etc., so that OCME can issue certificates in August and early September of each yearly cycle. If the faculty earn CME credit elsewhere, they should get a CME certificate for that activity from that accredited provider. Physicians should be aware that it is their responsibility to maintain documentation of CME credits earned for 6 years.

Q: Does OCME have a template of the excel spreadsheet used to submit attendance and credits by our department to OCME?

A: Yes, there are two templates on our website. Go to; to the left of the screen there is a link "RSS Support Material." Click on it for additional materials.

Q: Is there a cost for the new excel spreadsheet?

A: No. They are there for you to download.

Q: Our department's activities utilize a case discussion format. Does OCME need a list of topics at the end of the year?

A: It depends on the format. If the activity is an open discussion format driven by a recent case or M&M event then topics are not required. However, please keep in mind that in this domain, the more documentation, the better. So, if a list can be kept, that's ideal. If, on the other hand, a series of topics are planned, then the list of topics is required and must be submitted with all records at the end of the yearly cycle.

Q: Sign In Sheet. If I fax my sign-in sheet will I have to pay?

A: Yes. If sign-in sheets come to OCME in any format other then the pre-approved excel spreadsheet, departments will be charged $5.00 per certificate to cover the cost of data-entry.

Q: If I want a CME certificate, do I have to pay $35?

A: No. If sign-in sheets are submitted using the approved excel spreadsheet, no additional fees will be assessed to the department. However, if sign-in sheets are not submitted using the approved format, the department will be charged $5per certificate.

Q: How often do we submit sign-in sheets to OCME?

A: All record keeping documentation should come to OCME in July of each year, unless otherwise specified by OCME.

Q: What record keeping documentation is due in July?

A: The following documents are required:

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Conflict of Interest

Q: Is a government grant considered Commercial Support?

A: It depends. If the grant is assigned to the University/SOM as they typically are, then the grant is not a form of commercial support. Thus, no disclosure is required. If the grant is paid directly to you, then it is commercial support and must be disclosed if topics related to products from the supporting agency are included in the activity or lecture. This is different than how commercial support is viewed by journals or by the conflict of interest group here at Johns Hopkins where all grant monies are considered to produce a conflict and thus disclosure is required.

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Q: When sign-in sheets are handed in at the end of the year, do we bring the money for the $5charge per person?

A: The budget number that your department supplied on the CME application will be charged.

Q: When faculty give CME presentations at another institution for which an honorarium is paid, does the honorarium go to the department or the presenter?

A: Honorarium is typically given to the visiting presenter. The department or division has the authority to determine whether the faculty member retains the honorarium or whether it goes back to the department.

Q: Can the department deposit commercial support checks into its departmental account?

A: No. All commercial support for CME must come to the "accredited provider": OCME.

Q: Our department has many divisions and many budgets. How can I be assured that each check from Commercial Supporters will be deposited into the correct CME account?

A: Each approved activity receives its own CME budget number. The department must inform OCME which RSC every check applies to. Money will be transferred to the departmental/divisional budget number assigned to that activity.

Q: Does OCME have to approve budget items such as honoraria, refreshments, etc.?

A: No. OCME does not have to approve your budget expenditures. However, you must submit a summarized budget (faculty lecture fees, food expenses, etc.) at the end of the year (July). Expenditures must meet all University and CME policies.

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Dealing with Commercial Interests

Q: Is it permissible for a drug representative from a pharmaceutical company to give an "update" on a product before the CME activity begins?

A: There is a risk in such an arrangement. CME activities must be strictly educational and free of any commercial bias or influence. Therefore, at no time can materials with company information, logos or product names be displayed or left in the room during the CME activity (e.g. pens, pads, penlights). At no time should there be any opportunity to confuse the two "events." Nor should attendees be required to get the commercial-interest message in order to get to the bias-free education. Consequently, if the same room is used, please allow time for one to end before the other begins -- and make certain the room is "scrubbed" of all commercial material.

Q: If a speaker's relationships with pharmaceutical and equipment companies change during the course of the year, must she complete another financial disclosure form?

A: The physician will need to complete a disclosure once a year. Ideally, if his/her commitments change during the year, she should file a subsequent disclosure statement.

Q: Can the pharmaceutical company issue a check directly to the speaker as an honorarium for a CME lecture?

A: No, such directly payment would make the speaker a paid agent of the drug company and violate the activity's independence from the funder. All commercial support must be given in the form of an "Educational Grant" to the accredited sponsor: OCME. OCME issues all honoraria payments on behalf of the institution. In this way, the speaker's relationship is with Johns Hopkins, not a pharmaceutical company.

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