As reported in the Autumn 2010 American Medical Association Continuing Physician Professional Development report released earlier this week, 34 percent of intrastate-accredited CME providers said in a survey taken in 2009 that they were “discussing whether or not to maintain CME accreditation.”
The biggest challenge identified was the time involved in the accreditation process, which more than 80 percent said would “very likely” or “somewhat likely” be a factor in a decision regarding future accreditation. Other factors included a lack of staff, a lack of physician support/involvement, and the difficulty of documenting compliance. More than 40 percent also said that a lack of commercial support—which has been dropping for two years, according to the most recent Accreditation Council for CME Data Report—might be another factor.
The organization surveyed 549 providers in July 2009 after it heard that the number of state-accredited providers might be on the wane due to increased difficulties and costs of maintaining accreditation under the ’s new criteria and fee increases. Three-quarters of the respondents were from hospitals and healthcare systems, while state specialty societies comprised 9 percent of respondents.
Between the drop in commercial support and the cost and hassles of maintaining accreditation, the AMA concluded that there could well be a drop in the number of intrastate CME providers, and a reduction in the number of AMA PRA Category 1 Credit-level activities available to local healthcare providers.
After reviewing the data, the AMA House of Delegates advised the AMA to work with ACCME to stem the tide by finding ways to reduce the financial burden of accreditation, streamlining the accreditation and state recognition processes, improving CME, proving that the updated criteria result in improved patient care, and reconsidering the fee increases for intrastate accredited CME providers. In addition, it called for state medical societies to get more involved in policies that affect state recognition.
Since that time, ACCME has acted to address these issues. The fee increases now are being done incrementally to reduce the financial burden, and it has formed a task force to look at what may be making the accreditation requirements difficult for providers. It also has developed educational workshops to support intrastate providers and help them with the accreditation requirements. Instead of the predicted 34 percent, the number of intrastate-accredited providers dropped only 5 percent since the survey was taken, from 1,573 in August 2009 to 1,492 in 2010.
In other AMA news: The organization recently also announced some changes to its PRA Category 1 Credit system. Among the changes: Enduring materials and journal-based CME activities now must include an assessment of the learner’s performance, and only participants who meet a minimum performance level can receive credit; credit for manuscript review can only be awarded to physicians whose reviews are deemed acceptable by the editor; and physicians must begin performance-improvement CME activities at Stage A.