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FAQs

Questions and Answers on Continuing Competency Requirements for the 
Virginia Board of Medicine

1. How many hours of continuing learning activities must I have each 
year?

In order to renew an active license biennially, the practitioner 
must complete the Continued Competency Activity and Assessment Form, 
which is provided by the Board and must indicate completion of at 
least 60 hours of continuing learning activities.

2.  What is the breakdown of Type 1 versus Type 2 continuing 
learning activity hours?

30 hours shall be Type 1 continuing learning activities as 
documented by an accredited sponsor or organization sanctioned by 
the profession to designate learning activities for credit or other 
value.  Of the 30 Type 1 hours, at least 15 must be earned in face-
to-face group settings, interactive courses or other interaction 
with peers.  Remaining hours may be gained through self-study or 
other Type I activities.   All 60 hours required by the Board may be 
Type 1 hours. 

30 of the 60 hours may be Type 2 continuing learning activities 
which may or may not be approved for credit by an accredited sponsor 
or organization sanctioned by the profession to designate learning 
activities for credit or other value.  Physicians shall document 
their own participation in Type 2 learning activities.

3.   When must I have the required number of continuing competency 
hours completed in order to renew my license?

With the renewal of licensure beginning in 2002.  You will be 
required to sign a certification on your renewal form that you have 
met the continuing competency requirements.  Falsification on the 
renewal form is a violation of law and may subject you to 
disciplinary action.

4.   Am I required to send in evidence of my continuing competency 
hours at the time I renew?

No.  The Board will randomly select licensees for a post-renewal 
audit.  If selected, you would be notified by mail that 
documentation is required and given a time frame within which to 
comply.

5.   When did the continuing competency requirements begin?

Regulations became effective on December 8, 1999. 

6.   Who maintains the required documents for verification of 
continuing competency?

It is the practitioner's responsibility to maintain the certificates 
and any other continuing competency forms or records for six years 
following renewal in 2002 and thereafter.  Do not send any forms or 
documents to the Board of Medicine unless requested to do so.

7.   What are "Type 1" hours?

Type 1 hours (at least 30 each biennium) are those that can be 
documented by an accredited sponsor or organization sanctioned by 
the profession.  If the sponsoring organization does not award a 
participant with a dated certificate indicating the activity or 
course taken and the number of hours earned, the practitioner is 
responsible for obtaining a letter on organizational letterhead 
verifying the hours and activity.  All 60 continuing competency 
hours each biennium may be Type 1 hours.

8.   What are "face-to-face" hours?

The Board requires that 15 of the Type 1 hours must be earned in a 
face-to-face activity or course or one in which you actually 
interact with your peers.  An interactive course sponsored by an 
accredited organization or school would be acceptable, but a 
televised or computerized video course in which there is no 
interaction by participants would not be acceptable for the face-to-
face hours.

9.   What are "Type 2" hours?

Type 2 hours (no more than 30 each biennium) are those earned in 
self-study, attending professionally related meetings, research and 
writing for a journal, learning a new procedure, sitting with the 
hospital ethics panel, etc. They are activities chosen by the 
practitioner based on assessment of his/her practice.  They do not 
have to be sponsored by an accrediting organization, but must be 
recorded by the practitioner on the form provided by the Board.

10. Where do I obtain the instructions and forms for continuing 
competency requirements?  

Forms and instructions are included in the January 2000 newsletter 
from the Board of Medicine.  You should retain a copy to begin 
recording your hours, or you may download them from the Board's 
Internet website - http://www.dhp.state.va.us/medicine/.  Records 
may be maintained electronically, but copies of documentation and 
forms will be necessary if a practitioner is audited following a 
renewal cycle.  Forms may also be copied.

11. Is it possible for a practitioner to earn accredited hours that 
are sanctioned by the profession but are outside the specialty area 
in which he/she practices?  

Yes.  For example, a pediatrician or a surgeon could receive credit 
for documented hours sponsored by the American Academy of Family 
Practice.  

12. What if I have earned the AMA Physician Recognition Award or 
have been recertified by my specialty board? Would that count for my 
continuing competency hours?

Yes.  Provided the Board has documented proof that the requirements 
to obtain the AMA award (or other similar awards) or specialty board 
certification are equal to or exceed those required for renewal of 
licensure.  It would only be necessary to submit evidence of having 
such an award or certification.

13. What if I am practicing solely without pay (i.e. volunteering at 
a free clinic, rescue squad, etc.)?  Do I still have to obtain the 
full 60 hours of continued competency?

No.  There is an exemption for anyone practicing solely without pay 
in a practice (free clinic, rescue squad, etc.) that is under the 
direction of a fully licensed physician.

14. What if I become ill or incapacitated and unable to complete my 
continuing competency requirements prior to renewal?

Upon written request from the practitioner explaining the 
circumstances, the Board may grant an extension or exemption for all 
or part of the required hours.

15. What if I am now retired and don't want to obtain continuing 
competency hours but don't want to give up my license?

You may request an inactive license from the Board, beginning with 
your next renewal.  It is important to note that holding an inactive 
license does not authorize anyone to engage in the practice of 
medicine, osteopathy, podiatry or chiropractic in Virginia.  If you 
intend to practice at all in Virginia, even on a part-time or non-
compensatory basis, you must retain your active license.

16. What happens if I take inactive licensure status and later 
decide to reactivate?

A practitioner seeking to reactivate a license must pay the active 
renewal fee and obtain the number of hours which would have be 
required for the years in which the license was inactive (not to 
exceed four years).  If the practitioner has not been engaged in 
active practice for more than four years, he/she must pass a special 
purpose examination in his area of licensure.