According to the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s 2012 Annual Report, total income for ACCME- and state-accredited CME providers topped $2.4 billion in 2012, a 5 percent increase over 2011, even though commercial support slid more than 10 percent year-over-year to $752 million. This is mainly due to an almost 14 percent increase in “other income,” which in the report means things like registration fees, and allocations for a provider’s parent organization or other internal departments.This source of income, which topped $1.4 billion in 2012, accounted for 59 percent of accredited providers’ total income. Commercial support, which made up half of total income six years ago, in 2012 comprised just 27 percent. Advertising and exhibits, the third main income producer at 14 percent, also was up 17 percent to more than $331 million in 2012. Eighty-two percent of the ACCME-accredited providers received no commercial support, and 81 percent of physicians and 78 percent of non-physicians participated in non-commercially supported activities from these providers.

Total expenses also were up, though not quite keeping pace with total income, rising 4.2 percent to $1.3 billion

As has historically been the case, publishing/education companies lead when it comes to receiving commercial support (not including in-kind support, which ACCME took out of the equation last year). Publishers and medical education companies reported that more than $271 million—about 44 percent of their total income—came from commercial support in 2012, down slightly from 46 percent of total income in 2011. Most of the rest of publishing/education company income derived from that “other” category of registration fees and other allocations. Medical schools also received a healthy 41 percent (more than $160 million) of their income in the form of commercial support; more than half of the rest was “other” income.

While the next largest receiver of commercial support, the nonprofit physician membership organization sector, took in more than $124 million of this type of income, that represented a less than 13 percent slice of this type of provider’s total income pie; almost 63 percent was in the “other” category. Advertising and exhibit income made up almost a quarter of the remainder for these organizations’ total income, making this revenue source by far more important for them than for the other provider types. Note: In 2010, ACCME’s system stopped asking providers to include the monetary value of in-kind support, asking them to report it qualitatively (equipment, supplies, facilities, etc.) instead of assigning a dollar value to it.

ACCME-accredited providers received almost 94 percent of the combined total income in 2012, even though they comprised just 34 percent of the total number of providers reporting. State-accredited providers also accounted for less than 2 percent of the commercial support income in 2012, so these combined totals generally reflect trends in ACCME-accredited providers. ACCME-accredited providers for the most part serve national and international audiences, while state-accredited providers generally work on a state or regional basis. Both sets of accreditors require their providers to follow strict standards. ACCME-accredited providers have been required to report their information in the ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System, or PARS, since its 2010 launch, though the accreditor has been collecting the data in other ways since 1997. In 2012, 21 of the 43 state/territory medical societies ACCME recognizes as accreditors—who represent 576 of the 1,319 state-accredited providers—chose to use PARS as well and are included in the combined data.