During the summer, the ACCME issued a call for comment regarding a new model for commercial support. Under the proposed system, educational needs would have to be identified and verified by organizations that do not receive commercial support and are free from financial relationships with industry, such as the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality; and CME activities would have to address professional practice gaps that are corroborated by “bona fide” performance measurements, such as those established by the National Quality Forum. Activity content would have to align with curricula specified by bona fide organizations, such as the American Medical Association and the American Board of Medical Specialties, and all activities would be verified as free of commercial bias by a third party.

During a hot topics panel, five speakers reiterated written comments already submitted to ACCME by their respective organizations.

Panelist Sue Ann Capizzi, MBA, FACME, president of the Alliance for CME, said there is no evidence to support the need for such sweeping changes, and that greater enforcement of the rules that already exist would be the better option. Stephen M. Lewis, CCMEP, president, North American Association of Medical Education and Communication Companies, said the CME community should focus its energy on improving the current system before doing away with it. Todd Dorman, MD, vice president, Society for Academic CME, said that although 60 percent of SACME members are in favor of a new funding paradigm, only 20 percent thought the model proposed by ACCME would work.

No Separate Speakers

The ACCME had also issued a call for comment regarding a proposal that would prohibit speakers who do paid promotion for pharmaceutical companies from participating in certified CME covering the same content. All panelists' organizations were opposed to the idea, except SACME, which favors the separation. Panelist Norman B. Kahn, MD, president and CEO, Council of Medical Specialty Societies, said bias in CME activities could be reduced by making sure presentations are peer-reviewed and evidence-based, and through on-site monitoring.

Finally, all five panelists took exception to the ACCME proposal that would further limit interactions between accredited providers and commercial interests. The new rules would stipulate that accredited providers could not “receive communications” from commercial interests regarding content or therapeutic areas available for funding or about companies' internal criteria for providing grants. Jennifer Spear Smith, PhD, FACME, executive director, professional education department, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Collegeville, Pa., speaking as a commercial supporter, said that CME providers already have complete control over content under the current guidelines, making this step unnecessary.

The ACCME has posted all the comments it received regarding these proposals at www.ACCME.org. It is reviewing the comments and began deliberation about its next course of action during the November 20-21, 2008, board meeting.

THE ACCREDITATION COUNCIL FOR CME'S proposed new model for commercial support received widespread criticism during a hot topics session at the Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration. Held October 21-23 in Baltimore, the conference drew 679 participants.

Pulse:

  • As of January 1, 2009, CME leader Frederic S. Wilson, CCMEP, will no longer be category manager, CME, Procter & Gamble Pharmaceuticals, Mason, Ohio. After 39 years in the pharmaceutical industry, he has decided to pursue other interests.

  • At a September conference about CME grants, organized by the Center for Business Intelligence, 97 percent of commercial supporter attendees said they did not support Pfizer's recent decision to no longer award grants directly to medical education and communication companies.

  • Dave Fellers, CAE, has joined ethnoMetrics, a trade show consulting firm, in Stevensville, Mich., as president. A medical association management veteran, he most recently served as executive director of the Radiological Society of North America, a position he held since 2001.

  • The American Medical Association's Committee on Ethical and Judicial Affairs will not recommend banning commercial support of CME in its next report, says Jack McMahon, MD, committee member. CEJA had proposed a ban last June; the report was referred back to CEJA for more work.

  • A “Get the Facts” campaign to educate the public, media, and government about CME has been launched by the public affairs committee of the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration. For more info, e-mail NTF.factsheets@AMA-assn.org.

  • The National Faculty Education Initiative, an online program to teach faculty the difference between certified CME and promotion, has been created by the Alliance for CME and the Society for Academic CME, in collaboration with the Association of American Medical Colleges. Visit www.acme-nfei.org.

POLLED VIA AN AUDIENCE-RESPONSE SYSTEM, participants in a hot-topics session at the Annual Conference of the National Task Force on CME Provider/Industry Collaboration were asked: What you would do if the Accreditation Council for CME prohibited commercial support of CME?

23%
SAID THEY WOULD SUPPORT THE CREATION OF ANOTHER CME ACCREDITATION BODY

23%
WOULD STAY THE COURSE

22%
WOULD WAIT AND SEE, THEN DECIDE

18%
WOULD GET OUT OF CME

6%
WOULD NOT CONTINUE TO BE AN ACCME-ACCREDITED PROVIDER

7%
WERE UNDECIDED

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