The workgroup’s research didn’t find any best practices for hosting these symposia. Too many departments with too many policies are impacted within each organization to catalog how organizations administer these events.

But each group’s practices can be classified on an oversight spectrum from “absolute oversight,” where the society plans and implements a separate activity that they seek support for, to hosting non-certified “promotional only” activities, with partial to no MSS oversight falling in the middle.

With absolute oversight, it’s easier for the MSS to align the symposia with the annual meeting’s focus and provide a means to advance scientific knowledge. It does make it more of a challenge for the MSS to ensure the satellites’ industry sessions are differentiated from those of the annual meeting.

Partial to no MSS oversight can bring the benefit of decreasing the potential for the perception of bias in the content.

Promotion-only symposia, which are funded from a company’s marketing department, are not subject to Accreditation Council for CME regulations, though they do have to obey the physician tracking and reporting requirements of the Sunshine Act.

This oversight spectrum evolved into the “4+1 Model,” where “4” represents four strata of provider oversight, and “+1” represents those organizations, like ACC, that do not offer any form of symposia. Each model faces distinct challenges, but there is a good deal of overlap within practices. In 2012, the group dove deeper into those similarities and differences for the 4+1.