Continuing Education (CE) Frequently Asked Questions

Planning committees

Who needs to be included on the planning committee for an Interprofessional Continuing Education (IPCE) activity?

IPCE activities require an integrated planning process that includes health care professionals who are reflective of the target audience the activity is designed to address. The planning committee must include a physician planner, nurse planner, pharmacist planner, etc. This identifies the profession that is included in the planning. The person/discipline that is leading the program will be the lead planner.

What is the role of the Nursing Continuing Education Council (NCEC) nurse planner?

For accredited continuing education activities that offer nursing contact hours, a NCEC Nurse Planner must be actively involved in the planning, implementing and evaluating of the activity. The NCEC Nurse Planner must ensure that the educational activity adheres to the accreditation criteria and that the needs of the target audience, registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, etc., are addressed. See NCEC Members and Contact Information for a list.


What content is eligible for Continuing Education (CE) credit?

It is the expectation that for all activity planning, the Accredited Provider will adhere to educational design process and other activity planning requirements. Content chosen for educational activities must address a gap in knowledge, skill/strategy, and/or performance and must be evidence-based. The educational activity must be planned independently from the influence of ineligible companies^. Content is intended to build upon the educational and professional development of the health care professional. Content areas may include but are not limited to faculty development, leadership, research, practice theory, wellness and self-care, interprofessional communication, team training, quality, and performance improvement. Content developed by an ineligible company may NOT be used in educational activities awarding credit/contact hours.

^An ineligible company is any entity whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.

How do I document assessment of learner needs?

Accredited continuing activities are developed in response to, and with consideration for, the unique educational needs of the target audience. Activity files must contain the method and documentation of the needs assessment. A variety of methods may be used to conduct a needs assessment, including but not limited to:

  • Evaluation data from previous educational activities
  • Evidence from quality studies and/or performance improvement activities to identify opportunities for improvement
  • Input from stakeholders such as learners, managers, or subject matter experts
  • Informal requests (e.g., via phone or by email)
  • Meeting Minutes
  • Other
  • Survey data from stakeholders, target audience members, or subject matter experts
  • Trends in literature, law and health care

The needs assessment should result in an identified gap in learners’ knowledge, skills/strategy, performance of the healthcare team or patient outcomes that the educational activity is designed and evaluated to measure.

Continuing Medical Education (CME) credits/Continuing Nursing Education (CNE) contact hours

Can CME credits be awarded to participants who are not physicians?

All individuals who have completed an Allopathic (MD), Osteopathic (DO) or an equivalent medical degree from another country can be awarded AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™.

For non-physician health professionals and other professionals, the activity is designated for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ and they need to consult their accrediting body to see if they accept.

Source: The Physician's Recognition Award and credit system 2017 revision

Can CNE contact hours be awarded to participants who are not nurses?

ANCC contact hours are awarded to nurses.

All other learners may claim general attendance credit. Consult your professional licensing board regarding the applicability and acceptance of general attendance credit for programs certified for credit by organizations accredited by Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Education.

Can a physician earn AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ for teaching at a CME activity? If so, how much credit?

Accredited CME providers may choose to award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to faculty for the learning that occurs in the preparation of an original presentation as part of an AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ live activity. The formula for granting such credit is 4 AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ per participant credit (or a 4:1 ratio). Like other AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™ awarded based on time metrics, credit can be designated in 15 minute increments. No credits are given for repeat presentations of the same material, it is the responsibility of the physician to only claim the credit once, and credit may not be simultaneously earned as both a presenter and learner.

Currently, Dartmouth Health does not have a way to properly document the learning that is done while preparing an original set of educational materials to meet the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) requirements. Therefore, at this time the only way to claim "teaching credit" is to apply directly to the AMA by completing the How to Transfer CME Credits and Apply for the AMA PRA Award.

For serving as faculty for other types of non-promotional educational activities physicians may claim AMA PRA Category 2 Credit™.

Source: The Physician's Recognition Award and credit system 2017 revision 

Can presenters earn ANCC contact hours for the conference at which they are presenting?

Presenters can only receive contact hours for portions of the activity they attend. They do not receive credit for their presentations.

Contact hour vs. Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

Joint Accreditation (JA) does not utilize the term CEU when referring to the continuing education credit. CEU is a specific credit designation used by organizations accredited by International Accreditors for Continuing Education and Training (IACET). The conversion of 1 CEU into hours (time) is different than a contact hour or credit. Nursing, medicine, and other professions use either the “contact hour” or “credit” as a unit of measurement that describes 60 minutes of an organized learning activity. One contact hour = 60 minutes. The CEU is equivalent to 10 contact hours or credits.

Conference accounting

Are there guidelines for setting program registration fees?

Typically, we offer many of our programs free of charge, such as our Grand Rounds offerings, or at a minimal cost. When we do charge a registration fee, we offer a tiered fee structure.

For example,

  • Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Clinics are charged the lowest rate.
  • NEAH members and member organizations may be charged a reduced rate.
  • Learners external to the system are charged the full rate.

Registration fees for specialty certification review courses or programs that are held external to Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center and Clinics, such as in a hotel setting, incur a greater cost and that is reflected in the registration fee.

Are there any additional costs or guidelines for a CE activity if an outside conference meeting management company is utilized?

Planners who wish to use an outside conference meeting management company to run the logistics of their activity must adhere to the following:

  • A standard Dartmouth Health contract needs to be created and signed by all parties.
  • All income and expenses must be processed through the Dartmouth Health Finance Department.

What must planners do when budgeting for an activity so as to have the activity covered financially by Dartmouth Health in the event of a negative net balance?

In a progressive collaboration between Dartmouth Health Finance and the Center for Learning and Professional Development, Dartmouth Health will underwrite all important, properly planned, formally approved, and solely Dartmouth Health sponsored continuing education activities. Such activities must have robust needs assessments, address clinical practice gaps, use effective teaching and assessment methods, and show reasonable budgets.

  • A budget template (XLS) is available for event coordinators to use when submitting budgets. The template includes appropriate income and expense items. Its use is strongly encouraged.
  • Planners and their event coordinators should present a budget that: (1) demonstrates modest meals and modest other expenses, and (2) estimates income from tuitions, Exhibitors and Grantors (with itemized details). Budgets should not include line items for internal event coordinators (and their regular or overtime hours). If inappropriate expenses are included in the final accounting submitted to the CE Offices after the activity, the Finance Department will reclassify these expenses back to departmental accounts.
  • Only expenses directly related to the educational activity should be included in the activity budget.
  • Budgets should be monitored throughout the planning and execution process and adjustments made, if possible. If it appears that expenses are going over budget because of low enrollments, reduced commercial grant support or reduced exhibit fees, please notify the CE Office.
  • Dartmouth Health/Geisel faculty, per the Dartmouth Health Honorarium Policy, cannot be paid to teach in a Dartmouth accredited activity.
  • Non-Dartmouth Health/Geisel faculty can be paid a modest honorarium at “fair market value” as well as appropriate travel and lodging expenses.
  • All institutional policies, including financial and financial disclosure policies must be followed in execution of the budget and event.

Planners and event coordinators are urged to call the CE Office if they have questions about activity budgeting and accounting.


Since 2010-11, continuing education leaders have made a number of strategic changes to the academic focus and financial management of the CE programs at Dartmouth Health/Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth (Geisel). These improvements are designed to help Dartmouth Health and Geisel provide distinctive education and research in continuing education while also addressing core strategies to improve population health, provide value-based care, and reduce cost. Many CE programs are interdisciplinary and inter-professional and focus on learning that is planned by the team and for the team They promote team learning and knowledge creation, best pedagogical and assessment practices, and are offered in a safe social-cultural learning environment. We hope the following information answers questions about strategic changes.

How and why has the focus in the CE Offices shifted in the past years to academic and accreditation requirements, including outcomes research, rather than event planning?

The “old” continuing education methods and systems do not meet clinicians’ needs for effective professional development to meet contemporary licensure, credentialing and practice expectations. Following the 2011 approval by the Dartmouth Health Trustee Research and Education Subcommittee of the strategic plan to improve continuing education, the Associate Dean for CME and Director of CME, in collaboration with the Chief Nursing Officer, transitioned the focus and priority of the CE Offices to clinicians’ academic accreditation needs rather than event planning. They endorsed strategies to support centralized tracking of Dartmouth Health accredited activities’ income and expenses as well as education outcomes assessments. Simultaneously they decentralized the event planning function for activities. CNE event management was placed under the Center for Nursing Excellence. CME event planning was placed within the department or section where the activity originates. The event management change was not significant for most areas because the majority of event planners were already department-based. These changes were announced in March 2012 and executed during fiscal year 2013. This process remains in place.

What are the free, central academic and accreditation resources now available through CLPD?

A key feature of our focus is that the CE Offices now provide planners with a free central resource for all Dartmouth Health accredited CE activities including online registration, marketing, evaluation, assessment, and academic transcript services.

Why does financial management of continuing education flow through Dartmouth Health as opposed to Geisel, or are both Dartmouth Health and Geisel involved, and, if so, how?

A mutual decision was made in 2010-11 to transition the financial management of the CE Offices, which is a shared cost center under long-term subvention agreement between Dartmouth Health and Geisel, to Dartmouth Health because the learners/target audience is primarily physicians, nurses and other clinicians who are Dartmouth Health along with Geisel clinical faculty and preceptors, employees across the Dartmouth Health system, as well as regional clinicians critical to Dartmouth Health’s referral base. Accreditation of new academic activities for these clinicians flows through the Dartmouth Health system with the Continuing Medical Education associate dean and director serving as members of the Dartmouth Hitchcock Clinics. These individuals have formal academic appointments and a direct relationship with the Dean of the Geisel School of Medicine to satisfy Association of American Medical Colleges’ (AAMC)-mandated and Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME) requirements. In this capacity the CE leaders and staff support the Dean’s academic priorities, for example, implementation of the new medical school curriculum and alignment with the Dean’s faculty development initiatives. The Continuing Nursing Education director is a member of the Dartmouth Health Center for Nursing Excellence and a Mary Hitchcock Memorial Hospital employee. The Dartmouth Health Chief Nursing Officer funds the CNE Office. The alignment of the Medicine and Nursing educators in the CE Office promotes team learning and inter-professional practice.

What is the difference between the Dartmouth Health and Geisel accounting systems, and why can’t “residual funds” be rolled forward at the end of the fiscal year?

There is a critical difference between the Dartmouth Health and Geisel accounting systems because the organizations are distinct financial entities. Dartmouth Health is a not-for-profit hospital on an accrual system in which each account, including continuing education, closes at the end of every fiscal year, and residual funds must flow into the general ledger. Geisel is a not-for-profit, private medical school and part of a university on a fund accounting system that must close its accounts each year but allows the rollover of certain accounts’ funds.

How will tuition be handled in the future?

The tuition fees ultimately depend on the pedagogical design of the activity to meet learners’ needs and the justifiable budget for the activity. Tuition fees must be paid online by credit card. Accounts Payable will no longer process internal transfers of registration fees. Individuals must pay online with a credit card and then seek reimbursement, if appropriate.

Joint providership

Can a Dartmouth Health/Geisel Lead Planner partner with an outside organization on an CE activity?

Planners who wish to offer credit or contact hours in collaboration with outside (non-Dartmouth) groups must use a Dartmouth Health Joint Provider Agreement and obtain signatures from outside parties to codify the relationship, including financing, accreditation, and indemnification. The protocols for Joint Providers are as follows:

  • A standard Dartmouth Health agreement needs to be created and signed by all parties.
  • A Joint Providership fee may be charged for accreditation, if applicable.
  • A $20 per attendee fee may be charged, if applicable.
  • Contact with questions.

Commercial support

Can a department or section receive a grant (commercial support) for a Regularly Scheduled Series?

Yes, however, the department or section should apply for these funds using the department’s annual educational needs assessment and a pre-planned schedule for the series, done in advance, without the commercial supporters’ input, and without speakers who are on a speakers’ bureau. Additionally, the department/section must have an official Letter of Agreement with the Commercial Supporter signed in advance of the activity/series

Where do we deposit a grant from a Commercial Supporter for a Regularly Scheduled Series?

The funds must be deposited into the central CLPD department number with an assigned project number for the activity and all expenses must be paid from the same department number and project number by the department/section.

Note: As a reminder, these funds must be completely spent down within the same fiscal year in which they are received.

Confidentiality of records

At our conference, we would like to distribute a list of participant names and contact information to all who attend. Is this permitted?

Since the names of participants and their contact information is confidential, it is permitted only if approval is secured before the conference from the individuals whose names are on the list. The registration form includes a question asking for this approval and providing an "opt-out" checkbox for those who wish to deny permission.