The Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Working Party was formed in July 2002 to review and further develop ATMS CPE policy. This Working Party is now formally called the Continuing Professional Education Committee (CPEC).
The CPE Policy is designed to be flexible and is reviewed periodically in order to meet the changing professional needs of ATMS members and community expectations of complementary medicine practitioners.
It is both a compulsory requirement of health funds and ATMS to complete CPE activities each year in order to gain the required 20 CPE points and maintain health fund eligibility and status as an ATMS accredited member.
Activities and events should align to your clinical skills and professional knowledge in your accredited modalities. Activities which contravene ATMS policies, or are deemed irrelevant, are not eligible for CPE points. Please refer to the ATMS Code of Conduct and ATMS Official Policies for further information regarding ATMS Policies.
What is CPE?
ATMS philosophy is that consumers of natural medicine services have the right to expect they will be treated in a competent, safe and effective manner that meets the best practice standards of health care within Australia.
ATMS defines Continuing Professional Education (CPE) as a well-structured program that provides further educational opportunities for practitioners of natural medicine to ensure they maintain and/or increase their knowledge, skills, expertise and competence throughout their professional life.
The ATMS CPE Policy is designed to ensure its accredited members regularly update their clinical skills and professional knowledge. The main purpose of CPE is to maintain and increase skills and knowledge actually required in clinical practice.
A CPE program is generally regarded as an integral part of professional occupation. Being a professional generally implies a commitment to updating and furthering one’s education.
CPE consists of any educational activities which assist to maintain, develop or increase knowledge and technical skills, which potentially enhance clinical outcomes and the capacity to resolve clinical matters.
Principles Underpinning the ATMS CPE Policy
The ATMS CPE Policy is founded on the following principles:
- Easily accessible to members, in a variety of geographic locations
- Members are provided with a choice of methods to accrue their mandatory CPE points
- Applicable to practices that are relevant to clinical practice including activities associated in managing a small business e.g. bookkeeping, advertising, marketing etc.
- Collaborative process between professional natural medicine associations, teaching institutions, suppliers of therapeutic goods and devices and government agencies to offer members a variety of options to complete their CPE activities.
Number of CPE Points Required
Accredited Members must accumulate 20 CPE points per annum, commencing and ending in the financial year (1 July to 30 June).
One hour of activity equates to one CPE point for activities which are conducted by ATMS, ATMS Recognised Colleges or by Organisations which have obtained ATMS CPE approval for specific activities.
In addition, if a member attends an event that is relevant to their practice and completes a learning summary the event will be assessed at one CPE point. The onus is on the accredited member to demonstrate that an activity undertaken is relevant to their clinical practice. Activities considered to be irrelevant will not be accepted.
If a member exceeds a minimum of 20 CPE points in each financial year, a maximum of 10 CPE points can be carried over into the following year.
CPE and Non-Practicing Members
All ATMS Accredited Members must undertake CPE activities. This includes Accredited Members who might not be in current practice.
CPE Record Keeping
The onus of record keeping is the responsibility of each individual Accredited Member. The ATMS CPE Record form is available, on the ATMS website. The requirement of satisfactory evidence is an essential factor in the CPE process, and the evidence produced must be reasonably self-evident that the activity was undertaken. Proof of a dubious nature will not be accepted.
The CPE Record and supporting documentation must to be kept in a safe place for a minimum of 3 years, and upon reasonable request from an appropriate body, this CPE evidence must be produced.
The ATMS Office undertakes a random audit of at least 5% of Accredited Members annually, generally in March and requires audited members to provide evidence of their CPE for that financial year. This is to ensure members are complying with the requirements of accredited membership, but also those that are eligible for health funds are complying with this health fund requirement.
For members who have not completed all 20 CPE points at the time of the audit are required to outline that activities that they will undertake over the following months to accrue the necessary points. Before a member can successfully pass the CPE Audit, the member must provide evidence of attendance or completion of all activities used to gain CPE points. The member must finalise their CPE audit and have successfully passed the audit by mid-July.
Non-Compliance with CPE Requirements
As compliance with the ATMS CPE Policy is a condition of Accredited Membership, as well as health fund eligibility, members who fail to comply with the ATMS CPE Policy, whether audited or not, will have their Accredited membership downgraded to Associate level membership. No refunds or adjustments to fees paid will be made. No exemptions or extensions with regards to completing CPE will be granted.
The member will then be required to demonstrate completion of 20 CPE points in order to have their Accredited Membership reinstated. The Accredited Member must still maintain compliance with ongoing CPE and membership requirements after reinstatement to retain their accredited membership.
Activities that Qualify for CPE Points
ATMS defines Continuing Professional Education (CPE) as a well-structured program of further education for accredited members of natural medicine to ensure they maintain and enhance their knowledge, skills, expertise and competence throughout their professional career. The ATMS CPE Policy is designed to ensure its practitioners regularly update their clinical skills and professional knowledge.
CPE consists of any educational activities which assists to maintain, develop or enhance knowledge, problem-solving, technical skills, clinical outcomes, effective client management or professional performance standards to provide the best in health care.
Activities which contravene ATMS policies, or are deemed irrelevant, are not eligible for CPE points. Please refer to the ATMS Code of Conduct and ATMS Official Policies for further information regarding ATMS Policies.