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).
In August 2002, the CPEC developed a CPE Discussion Paper and undertook a consultative process with all members and invited feedback on all aspects of the reviewed CPE program. The responses from 259 members were analysed, and the views of members were instrumental in the development of the ATMS CPE Policy.
The CPE Policy is designed to be flexible and is reviewed regularly in order to meet the changing professional needs of ATMS members and the community expectation of complementary medicine practitioners.
The CPE Policy was reviewed in 2011, 2012 and further reviewed in 2014 where changes were made to the number of points that could be accrued for ATMS approved and other educational activities. Refer to the table at the end of this document.
An important point to note, 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 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.
Continuing Professional Education (CPE) Requirements
The ATMS board’s requirements in relation to CPE are set out in the ATMS Continuing Professional Education Policy paper which is posted on the ATMS website. Also published on the website is a Record form for recording CPE activities. ATMS expects that applicants and accredited members are familiar with and meet the CPE requirements as set out in these documents.
Continuing Professional Education is the means by which members of the natural medicine profession maintain, improve and broaden their knowledge, clinical expertise and develop personal and professional qualities required throughout their professional lives. Being a professional person implies a commitment to updating and furthering one’s education. Graduates of natural medicine who apply to join ATMS should ensure they have read the ATMS CPE Policy and understand that they will need to meet these requirements.
Accredited Members must accumulate 20 CPE points per annum, commencing and ending in the financial year (1 July to 30 June). Members are expected to exercise their professional judgement when determining whether an activity is eligible for CPE points. It is not a requirement to obtain approval from ATMS for an activity to be claimed for CPE points. Please contact ATMS office if you are unsure that the activity you are undertaking may not meet ATMS CPE requirements. Note: This includes Accredited Members who might not be in current practice.
Providers of CPE seminars or other educational activities related to health care
Providers of CPE seminars, workshops or other health-related activities who wish to promote CPE points for these events must obtain prior approval from ATMS.
Audit and Compliance
The ATMS Office undertakes a random audit of at least 5% of Accredited Members each year. As compliance with the ATMS CPE requirements is a condition of Accredited Membership, as well as health fund eligibility, members who fail to comply with ATMS CPE requirements, whether audited or not, will have their Accredited membership downgraded to Associate level. No refunds or adjustments to fees paid will be issued. 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.
CPE and Health Funds
Federal Legislation requires a practitioner who wishes to be recognised as a provider by any health fund to undertake CPE activities. Accordingly health funds stipulate that a member must undertake activities to gain 20 CPE each year. It is of note that some health funds are requiring that the 20 CE points be completed per modality and that the activities undertaken are directly related to those modalities. Please see the health funds Terms and Conditions on the ATMS website (https://www.atms.com.au/health-funds/) to ensure your compliance.
Consequently Members who do not declare on their Membership Renewal Form that they have undertaken activities to gain 20 CPE points, or when requested are unable to substantiate that they have gained 20 CPE points in the relevant financial year period are at risk of losing the entitlement to be included on the lists of eligible providers that ATMS sends to the health funds. This of course means clients will no longer be able to claim a rebate for the Member’s services. Note: The ATMS has no discretion in this area. It is a requirement of the health funds, and is outside of the control of the ATMS. Thus all Accredited Members are urged to maintain accurate and proper records and evidence of their CPE activities.
It is also recommended that members who hold national registration ensure that the CE they complete meets the ATMS CPE requirements also meet the requirements of their national registration body.
All ATMS members will be expected to provide evidence that they have met their annual CPE requirements if asked to do so. All activities should be recorded in the ATMS Record Document which is available on the ATMS website. Activities must be recorded clearly showing the type of activity the number of hours and signed by the presenter. Members who wish to use their own form of documentation for recording CPE activities may do so. The requirement of satisfactory evidence is an essential factor in the CE process, and the evidence produced must be reasonably self-evident that the activity was undertaken. Proof of a dubious nature will not be accepted. Members must maintain an up to date portfolio of CPE activities undertaken for at least three years.
Members who exceed the minimum requirement of 20 CPE points may carry ten points over to the next 12 months.