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The automatic spending cuts demanded by the sequestration that kicked in March 1 go across the federal healthcare agencies. How will they affect continuing medical education and pharmaceutical meetings? Here are some possibilities.
Sequestration and CME Grants
Sequestration cuts to the federal healthcare-related organizations are on the table, but it doesn’t appear that these cuts will have too many direct effects on continuing medical education. As Andrew Rosenberg, partner, Thorn Run Partners and senior advisor with the Washington, D.C., lobbying group The CME Coalition, says, “There is no way to know whether or not cuts to [Health and Human Services] will result in any reductions in grant funding that may be used for government medical education campaigns, but I cannot see a significant or direct impact on CME.”
One director of CME at a state specialty society said on the Continuing Medical Education LinkedIn group that only those who are doing grant work for the government would feel the impact, since “It's a couple of percentage points off an increase from last year.” But Bill Bresser, director at the Medical Technology Management Institute, counters that, saying, “While the percentage of dollars due to be cut is proportionally small, I think the effect will be a decrease in support for CME; it being one of the first line items to be cut from the budget.”
And for those who rely on government funding, the fallout could be harsh. New Jersey Academy of Family PhysiciansVice President Theresa Barrett reports that, according to a friend who handlesfor a major defense contractor, all of which is funded by government , “It is the family docs who work within the military who are going to suffer. If they cannot come to together for training, how are they going to learn new applications?”
Even CME providers who are not being directly affected by the sequestration cuts may find their programs being affected indirectly as cuts in federal healthcare programs trickle down to docs, who then have to make hard decisions about where to spend their shrinking income when it comes to education.