A new CPE Monitoring System is being adopted by the pharmacy profession in 2012. As an ACPE provider, starting in May, CPNP will no longer issues electronic statements of credit but will instead report ACPE hours earned to the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy who will maintain the “CPE Monitor” system.

This system basically will eliminate the need to maintain paper records of continuing education credit. This new system will be entirely electronic and allow state boards of pharmacy to access your yearly continuing education records (and thus verify that you have met the requirements for re-licensure). While this system is still in its transition phase for the remainder of 2012, CPNP hopes to transition to this new reporting method in May of 2012 following the Annual Meeting. If you don't register for an NABP electronic profile (NABP e-Profile), you will not be able to receive continuing education credit from approved providers after this year. If you can't receive continuing education credit, you won't be able to renew your pharmacy license(s).

Your Action Items:

  1. Learn more and create your NABP e-Profile

  2. Update your CPNP profile to record your date of birth and your new NABP ID

An interesting Q&A with Carmen Catizone at the National Association of Boards of Pharmacy is excerpted (below) regarding the specifics of this new program. If you haven't already, I would strongly encourage you to go through the process of obtaining your NABP e-Profile now as outlined below.

The CPE Monitor System Expert Interview With Carmen Catizone, Executive Director, NABP

Medscape: Mr. Catizone, can we begin with the most basic question which is - what is the CPE Monitor?

Mr. Catizone: The CPE Monitor program is a new system that will replace the paper-based recording and monitoring of CPE participation for pharmacists and technicians. It's a project that we've been talking about with some of the other pharmacy associations for at least 5 years. The idea arose when we recognized there was a need to improve the process of recording and monitoring CPE participation so as to better serve pharmacists and providers. Improving the system for pharmacists and providers was always our objective and goal. What we also learned from boards of pharmacy, our members, is that the fraud that occurs with the current self-reporting system of CPE is as high as 25% in some states. This means that 25% of pharmacists are saying that they are completing their CPE and complying with state requirements when they are actually not doing so. That became a serious concern of the boards of pharmacy and was the impetus that pushed us to bring this to fruition as quickly as possible.

Medscape: The program will allow recording of CPE credits. My understanding is that only organizations designated by the ACPE as a CPE provider will currently be allowed to report to the CPE Monitor system. Is that correct? Are there plans to allow CPE from non-ACPE-accredited providers to be reported to the CPE Monitor system in the future?

Mr. Catizone: The answers to those 2 questions are yes and yes. The way the system is being built calls for pharmacists and those technicians that assist in the practice of pharmacy in states where there is mandatory registration and continuing education requirements to participate in the CPE Monitor program as the means for documentation of CPE and renewal of licensure. The state boards of pharmacy recognize ACPE-accredited providers as meeting state CPE requirements and providing a uniform and quality standard for CPE. Some boards of pharmacy do recognize non-ACPE-approved providers and the programs they provide to pharmacists and technicians. In the first phase of the program we will only be able to collect information from ACPE-approved providers. Once the system is completely functional and the providers that are ACPE approved are all participating, then we are going to expand the system and develop a mechanism for us to be able to validate non-ACPE approved provider CPE.

Medscape: Is it correct that all pharmacists and technicians must use the system?

Mr. Catizone: Yes and here is where the mandatory aspect of CPE is going to come into effect. The state boards of pharmacy designate ACPE as the accrediting or approval body for continuing education providers and require CPE for licensure renewal. ACPE has changed its standards for the approval of CPE providers to now require that all providers must provide documentation of participants directly to ACPE through the CPE electronic system. This means that every pharmacist and applicable technician that takes a CPE program to satisfy mandatory relicensure requirements from an ACPE-approved provider will have their participation transmitted by the provider directly to ACPE through the CPE Monitor electronic system. In order for this to occur at the individual pharmacist and technician level, technically, every pharmacist and technician will need an NABP electronic profile (NABP e-Profile). NABP is making the process for creating an NABP e-Profile available through our Website and at some of the national and state pharmacy meetings. CPE participants will use their NABP e-Profile to record their CPE activities within the CPE Monitor system.

Medscape: How do pharmacists and pharmacy technicians register for the CPE Monitor and receive an NABP identifier e-Profile?

Mr. Catizone: Every pharmacist and technician will need an NABP e-Profile in order to be able to participate in ACPE-approved CPE programs. They can simply go to our Website and click on the CPE Monitor icon. The system will walk participants step by step through the process of building their own NABP e-Profile. Because NABP is involved in some other activities with pharmacists, many may already have an NABP e-Profile. Pharmacists who took the North American Pharmacist Licensure Examination, the NAPLEX, may already have a profile. Any pharmacist who may have transferred their license probably has a NABP e-Profile. Any other pharmacist that has taken a program or service through NABP probably has an NABP e-Profile. Of the 300,000 licensed pharmacists in the United States, about 180,000 already have active profiles with NABP. So, we already have a significant number of all pharmacists in our database and we continue to build that database on a daily basis as more and more pharmacists create NABP e-Profiles.

Medscape: What is the start date for this program? At what point will ACPE providers be mandated to report for the CPE Monitor?

Mr. Catizone: Our system for pharmacists and technicians to create an NABP e-Profile is active now. ACPE is currently pilot testing the transmission of information with some providers. We hope that by the beginning of 2012 providers will start reporting electronically and through 2012 more and more providers will come onboard so that by the end of 2012 it'll be fully operational.

Medscape: Is that the point in time when paper continuing education certificates will be phased out by CPE providers?

Mr. Catizone: Yes.

Medscape: What will happen if a pharmacist or a pharmacy technician does not register with CPE Monitor by the end of 2012?

Mr. Catizone: They won't be able to receive CPE credit from approved providers. If they can't receive CPE credit then they probably won't be able to be relicensed or reregistered.

Medscape: Will any personal information collected through the NABP e-Profile be shared with any other party?

Mr. Catizone: No, it will not. The biggest concern voiced by participants has focused on our requirement of the social security number. NABP is aware of the information breaches that have occurred with other systems. However, we have taken every step we believe possible to protect that information. Not only are the files encrypted, but there is limited access to any protected information. Our security systems are such that no person at NABP can transmit an email with a social security number or download or store on a flash drive or access in any other way protected information without prior approval and screening. If an attempt is made to transmit data with social security numbers or store it on an external device, the email or actions are immediately stopped by the system and our security system is notified and steps taken. We're doing everything we can to protect that information. Secondly, we've also secured enough insurance coverage that should provide relief if there is a breach. The insurance coverage will allow us to work with any pharmacist or technician impacted should a breach occur to bring them back to a point where they feel comfortable and safe and restore their identities and correct any other damages they may face.

Medscape: Who could request a CPE report for a pharmacist or pharmacy technician? Can organizations other than an individual's own state board request that information?

Mr. Catizone: No. Without the pharmacist or technician's permission, the only entity that will receive the report will be the state board of pharmacy. If an employer, an insurance company, or an attorney in some sort of civil lawsuit queried us or asked for that information, the answer would be no. No other party can receive any information from the CPE Monitor program unless we are subpoenaed in a court action or the pharmacist or technician provides permission. Even though our members are government agencies, NABP is not a government agency and so we are not subject to freedom of information requests or any other such public disclosures. We will protect that information like we have protected similar information in our licensure transfer program for the last 80 years.

Medscape: Will the information in the CPE Monitor be transmitted to a pharmacist's state board on a routine basis? Or will the state board need to request that information and, if so, will the pharmacist be notified when that occurs?

Mr. Catizone: It is going to vary state by state. Some states have said they would like reports so they do not have to conduct audits. Other states have said they would request random audit information from us. Others have said they will only ask us if there is a problem with a particular pharmacist or technician. In all of those cases, the pharmacist will be notified of how that system works and when that information has been reported to that state board of pharmacy.

Medscape: What if a pharmacist has a question or a concern regarding CPE Monitor? Who should they contact?

Mr. Catizone: If they have questions about their NABP e-Profile or, down the road, if information is not added to their profile that they believe should have been added by the provider, they can simply contact our customer service department at 847-391-4406. We have added customer service personnel to address that issue. If they have a more serious issue about a policy matter or something else that's occurring, they can contact Robert Cowan, our Chief Operating Officer, through our main number at 847-391-4406. Alternatively, I can be contacted directly via email.

Medscape: Are there any other particular points about the CPE Monitor that you would like to emphasize for our pharmacists and pharmacy technicians?

Mr. Catizone: Yes, I would like to note the benefits of this system. One, there is no charge to the pharmacists for this service. NABP is going to be allowing maintenance of profiles and reporting at no cost to the pharmacist. Once the system is built, we have other enhancements that we would like to add to the system and offer to pharmacists, and there probably will be a small fee for those enhancements

Second, the cost to the state boards is also zero. Third, CPE Monitor will address the current fraud issue with CPE and provide a more reliable system than is currently available to our member boards, pharmacists, and CPE providers. It will help the providers because they can eliminate all of the paper certificates and records they have been maintaining. Everything can now be filed electronically, so the system is more efficient and less costly. Fourth, the system is green. One of our goals was to develop a green system and begin to eliminate some of the unnecessary paperwork. Finally, for ACPE and NABP, CPE Monitor will help us have a much more accurate picture of pharmacists and then work with pharmacists to help them in selecting CPE programs or manage their license when they run into questions from state boards of pharmacy.