Help Me! I'm Being Audited!

Updated 2/11/2019: We received an update by a CE expert extraordinaire. This blog post reflects their information.

This was the message I received for the first time from a previous attendee of our continuing education (CE) events. Little did they know their frantic message sent me in a panic. Why? Because their message implied that Beyond the Prophy was at fault for their audit and all I could think of was this attendee could potentially try to take me "down" and blame me for something I have no control of.


So I said to myself, wait a minute, Jas! Hold up and pump the brakes! Did Beyond the Prophy do anything wrong?....No! However, my concern over this customer's perception was still troubling. So I thought? If one attendee didn't understand the formality of a state board audit or acceptance of credits there has to be more hygienists out there who at one time or another felt confused. So this week's blog is all about CE accreditation organizations vs. the state dental boards.


[Insert dramatic doom music]


Before I begin, I want to highly recommend that you register for a CE Zoom account. It's the best platform to keep up with your CE credits and monitor multiple licenses based on your state board  licensure renewal requirements.


Secondly, I can't go forward without explaining the four ways an organization can obtain CE approval. Below are the four ways:


#1 State Board of Dental Examiners for the State You Reside In

#2 American Academy of Dental Hygiene 

#3 Academy of General Dentistry OR

#4 ADA Cerp


Please make note of this: the only way a CE course can have guaranteed approval by your state board is if an organization decides to submit their course directly to the board. This is certainly acceptable if someone provides CE for just in-state professionals. However, if an organization is a national entity that often hosts courses in more than one state, they should opt for #2 , #3, or #4. Beyond the Prophy is a national brand (semi-international with our peeps in other countries::smile::) and our attendees come from many states. Our company has opted for national recognition to ease the process of vetting qualified courses and speakers.


What I have found since my years of planning CE events is that some organizations never bother to get approval from any of the above entities. For years, I worked with a state dental hygiene association that never once checked or acquired approval from the state board, nor did they apply for national approval from organization #2 and #3. Do you know what else is interesting? Many attendees attend these events and never question if the organization has gone through the process of accreditation or board approval. The attendees assume since they have been in business for an extended period of time that the organization is checking….Nope! Unfortunately, many are not, which means that you the consumer need to check if your CE organization is vetting their speakers and content. (Note: Some state dental hygiene associations have the ability to offer any courses because they have prior board approval. But this is not the case for all state hygiene associations)


Why is accreditation important? It requires the organization to review the speakers qualifications, review their course content, conflict of interests or more! The standards set by the accrediting body are high and this is exactly what Beyond the Prophy® represents. There was no question when I made the investment for national approval I wanted my business to reflect the same standards.


Where does this leave the consumer of CE credits? It is important to never forget that you are the sole person responsible in knowing your state requirements and always (I mean always!!!) get more credits than your state requires. Many times as an attendee you may take CE credits your state board may not approve of. It's why every organization that has national CE recognition will always have a statement with their logo that states that national recognition does not imply approval by your state board.


I am a sole believer that we as dental professionals need to get out of the mindset of only taking classes solely for the purpose of licensure renewal. We are all capable of reaching our greatest potential and we can only do that when we get out of our comfort zone and start learning more! This is exactly why I offer the Think Beyond the Prophy Conference yearly!


Finally, What takes place during an audit? They often will send a letter through the mail to inform the clinician that credits were not accepted or they will personally review your licensure renewal from the previous renewal cycle. You will then need to provide the documentation they require so they may review the courses you took.


First step: BREATHE!

Second step: Tell yourself that this DOES NOT MEAN YOU ARE LOSING YOUR LICENSE!

Third step: Repeat step #2

Fourth step: Follow the guidelines set forth in the letter from the board


At one time or another in your career, you will receive a notice of audit or rejection of CE credits (unless you use CE zoom of course to keep track!). So make sure to keep impeccable records for at least five years. Save every CE certificate, know your state guidelines for licensure renewal (read that fine print), and realize this is just one of the common experiences we will all have at some point of our career.

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