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CME Overview

Recession

S upport for CME stems from numerous sourc- es, with the bulk of providers seeking indus- try funding to help pay for their programs. Reduced availability of grants for CME has caused many to rethink that model.

changes in commercial support levels but because of the difficulty in their minds of reaching compliance with the new accreditation requirements,” notes Ma- rissa Seligman,PharmD,chief,clinical & regulatory af- fairs and compliance officer, SVP, Pri-Med Institute.

“Many providers are getting 30-40% less financial support from commercial sources than in the past,” reports Marty Cearnal, EVP, chief strategy officer, Jobson Medical Information. Cearnal said it’s also harder to get a grant today. “Two years ago…maybe one out of every five grants would get funded.Today that number is one out of every 20-30.”

Commercial support to accredited providers rose just 1% to $1.2 billion in 2007, according to the lat- est figures from the Accreditation Council for CME (ACCME). Publishing and education companies and hospitals saw their industry dollars fall, while specialist societies and other non-profits, as well as insurance and managed care companies, were the only ones posting gains. The reality may be even more glum than data suggest. Cearnal speculates that the reported rise may be due to providers sim- ply submitting more comprehensive data.

“Present-day economics have challenged all CME stakeholders,” says Pamela Mason, CCMEP, FACME, director, medical education grants office, AstraZeneca US. “Limited and shrinking budgets at academic and healthcare institutions, as well as professional associations, present challenges in the number, type and quality of CME offerings. Phar- maceutical companies are also trying to cope with smaller budgets and, consequently, providing fewer grant awards. The competition for grants is becom- ing more robust.”

The shakeout The tight funding climate, along with new regulation, has led to a shakeout in the provider community.

“Many organizations, hospitals and others are not pursuing re-accreditation, not just because of the

“We truly believe in the health and wellness dialogue”

Leo Franci , Ph , president, Publicis Medical Education Group

This year marks the first completed accreditation cycle under the 2006 ACCME accreditation criteria. While the majority of providers have been able to meet the new requirements, several aspects of the updated criteria make this more difficult. One is what Seligman terms a “real-time” compliance re- quirement.According to ACCME, about 50% of the applicants for re-accreditation had one major non- compliance finding that will compel them to write a progress report.

“That’s up from previous years, and the cost is real,” Seligman says. Providers have always had to write progress reports. The difference now is that, within a shortened 90-day timeframe, providers must include a description of new practices or corrective actions that will be implemented in order to bring the program into compliance, as well as subsequent evidence of compliance from CME activities that demonstrate the provider’s performance in practice.

“You have to change and provide evidence of change to get out of non-compliance,” she explains.

While the ACCME has not released records on the number of providers that have decided not to seek re-accreditation, the number of nationally ac- credited providers is expected to shrink this year from its current peak of more than 700.

Some say August will be the month when multiple providers will announce their intentions to leave CME.As the phase-in month for ACCME’s new def- inition of a commercial interest (if an organization’s corporate structure has not been vetted by ACCME by then, it can’t own an accredited provider),August is a natural date for what one provider calls a CME “D-Day” for accredited commercial entities.

So far the list of upcoming casualties includes no

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