The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, you may recall, recentlyproposed new rules to further limit interactions between accredited providers and commercial supporters. And the ACCME also issued a 'call for comment' until Sept. 12 on a proposal for a new model of commercial support, all of which you can read about here.
Not surprisingly, some CME companies are alarmed and so one firm, Professional Postgraduate Services, is circulating an e-mail urging others to write the ACCME in support of continued commercial funding for independent medical education. Of course, anyone can write in to say 'yea' or 'nay.' Here is the PPS note...
Subject: Your Urgent Response Needed to Keep CME Funding Intact Dear Colleague, As a participant in one or more of our continuing medical education (CME) activities, you are well aware of the value of independent medical education. And we at Professional Postgraduate Services® (PPS) are proud of feedback we’ve received from you and your colleagues telling us that 95%-98% of you believe our activity content is fair-balanced and free of commercial bias. Today, we want to alert you to the fact that independent medical education is under attack. A recent proposal by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) includes three scenarios:
- The status quo, where commercial support remains an acceptable funding mechanism; - The complete elimination of commercial support; - A new paradigm that puts forth four criteria that must be met in order for commercial support to continue. This paradigm would remove medical education companies like PPS from any role in content development.
In its call for comment, the ACCME said it will take input until September 12. We believe it is critical that learners such as yourself make your voices heard in support of continued commercial funding for independent medical education. To facilitate your response, we have prepared the basis of a letter. Feel free to copy or change it, as you deem appropriate, and submit your response to: https://accme.wufoo.com/forms/call-for-comment-2/
...It is vitally imortant that the ACCME hears from you! Further, we appreciate you alerting your colleagues to this matter.
Thank you,The Professional Postgraduate Services® Management Team Marianne Koch, Mark Schaffer, Sylvia Razzo, Steve Rifkind, Lou Passador, Caroline Tredway
PS: Your professional and medical societies are also interested in this issue. Please share your thoughts with them via email, fax, or letter. Professional Postgraduate Services® 200 Meadowlands Parkway, Secaucus, NJ 07094
Here is the form letter:
To whom it may concern,
I am writing in response to the recently issued "Call for Comment" by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) proposing the elimination of commercial support for continuing medical education (CME) activities.
In the document, the ACCME includes three scenarios: • the status quo with commercial support of CME an acceptable funding mechanism; • the complete elimination of commercial support; • a new paradigm that puts forth four criteria that must be met in order for commercial support to continue to be allowed.
The consequences of altering the manner in which CME activities are presently funded would have a profound effect on learners like myself. Limiting providers’ ability to develop effective CME activities will mean that fewer options for learning will be available. Further, the major portion of available education would be only of a promotional nature from the pharmaceutical and device companies. Lastly, the decision could also limit the availability of activities to address the requirements of Maintenance of Certification and Maintenance of Licensure.
In the end, however, I believe this decision will have an even more profound impact on patient health outcomes. With limited CME activities to choose from, learners like myself will be hard-pressed to understand evidence-based treatment options in disease states where cutting-edge interventions involve off-label usages, or the science behind novel therapies that may soon fit into our treatment armamentarium.
In short, the decision to eliminate commercial support could have a great impact both on the quality and quantity of CME available to practicing healthcare professionals, and also on patients. The same can be said for the new paradigm scenarios under which commercial support would be allowed to continue.
While I recognize that the current system can be improved through minor adjustments, I encourage the ACCME to maintain the status quo, with commercial support of CME remaining an acceptable funding mechanism.