The Accreditation Council for CME's “Annual Report Data 2004” has a lot of very interesting numbers — including one that says the total income for ACCME-accredited providers has passed the $2 billion mark, up more than 15 percent over the 2003 figures. Average income per organization also is up more than 12 percent over 2003, at $2.86 million.

This year, the ACCME consolidated some of its categories; that consolidation is taken into account in the following data. The “Non-Profit (Physician Membership)” category, which includes specialty societies, non-specialty physician organizations, and state medical societies, reported the highest total income at more than $700 million; this category also enjoyed one of the biggest bumps in total income, a 28 percent increase over the previous year. Hard on its heels was the “Publishing/Education Company” category (a combination of communications companies, both physician- and nonphysician-owned education companies, and publishers), with total reported income just shy of the $700 million figure. Another sector that enjoyed a high growth in income from 2003 to 2004 was in the “School of Medicine” category, which increased 22 percent year to year, compared to the publishing/education category's 19 percent growth rate. The biggest growth rate, however, went to the category with the smallest reported total income in 2004: insurance and managed care companies, whose growth to $6.16 million over 2003's $1.57 million represents a 291 percent leap. But where some leap, others fall, and in 2004, it was the “Non-Profit (Other)” category, whose total income fell 31 percent to just shy of $100 million. This category includes not-for-profit foundations and voluntary health associations.

Funding Growth Spurt Slows

The total amount of commercial support, while still growing, appears to be slowing down a bit. In 2004, total commercial support reported by ACCME-accredited providers reached a new high of $1.07 billion, a 10 percent increase over 2003. But this is the lowest rate of increase noted in recent years: It went up more than 30 percent in the 2002 to 2003 period; 31 percent from 2001 to 2002; and 23 percent from 2000 to 2001.

In addition, when calculated as a percentage of total income, commercial support has slipped a bit: In 2003, it accounted for almost 55 percent of the total; in 2004, it decreased to 52 percent of the total amount. The vast majority of that commercial support still comes from firms that manufacture FDA-regulated products — that amount grew a healthy 11 percent over the 2003 figures. In fact, providers reported a slight decrease in commercial support received from other sources. Nontraditional commercial support went from a tiny 1.5 percent of total reported income in 2003 to a miniscule 1 percent last year. But providers appear to be filling in these slight gaps with large increases in other areas, such as income from registration fees and allocations from the provider's parent organization or other internal departments, which increased 26 percent to $784.5 million in 2004. Specialty societies, nonspecialty physician organizations, and state medical societies made the most from their advertising and exhibits: $165.4 million. In distant second place were medical schools, with $10.2 million.

The biggest slice of the commercial support pie in 2004 went to publishing/education companies, who took an almost 8 percent bigger bite in 2004 than in 2003, reporting total commercial support of $527.1 million. The biggest percent increase went to specialty societies, nonspecialty physician organizations, and state medical societies, which rose 33 percent to $176.3 million in 2004. Medical schools, which came in second in total commercial support at $254.1 million in 2004, had just a 10 percent increase over 2003.

While the insurance/managed care companies still took a pretty small bite at just $1.7 million in total commercial support in 2004, this number represents a 4,000 percent increase over 2003's $40,500 figure. And hospitals/healthcare delivery systems raked in $52.6 million in 2004, 25 percent more than the $41.6 million in total commercial support they received the previous year. Not-for-profit foundations and voluntary health associations reaped what for them was a meager $33.6 million, slightly less than half of 2003's report of $69.4 million in commercial support.

Ups and Downs

The number of directly sponsored, regularly scheduled conferences slowed the slide they began in 2003, when providers reported 19 percent fewer of them than they did in 2002, but the slide does continue. From 2003 to 2004, the number of these conferences decreased 9 percent to 9,124 activities being reported. Jointly sponsored conferences, however, went up 4.5 percent from 2003 to 2004. The number of directly sponsored courses also decreased almost 11 percent, while jointly sponsored courses increased 10 percent.

And while the number of directly sponsored live Internet activities remains a small 557, and jointly sponsored live Web activities numbered just 139 in 2004, that represents a huge gain in market share over 2003: 137 percent and 247 percent, respectively. The number of hours of directly sponsored Web CME also is rising at a remarkable 363 percent in 2004 over 2003; jointly sponsored Web CME was up 186 percent. This is somewhat a reversal of the trend we saw in the 2003 data report, which showed just a 12 percent increase in directly sponsored Internet activities, and jointly sponsored activities plummeted 75 percent in 2003 from the numbers reported the year before.

Internet enduring materials also continue to skyrocket, with an 83 percent uptick in 2004 for combined directly and jointly sponsored materials. Directly sponsored Internet enduring materials had already shot up 62 percent in 2003; and jointly sponsored Web materials rose an astounding 313 percent over the 2002 to 2003 period. Journal CME continues to grow, albeit more slowly, at almost 21 percent in 2004 over 2003. For the full report, visit accme.org.

TOTAL INCOME

Up 15 percent from 2003 to 2004

TOTAL COMMERCIAL SUPPORT

Up 10 percent from 2003 to 2004

TOTAL PHARMA COMMERCIAL SUPPORT

Up 11 percent from 2003 to 2004