Continuing medical education (CME) refers to a range of educational programs provided by trained professionals that helps health care providers to maintain their competence and to learn about new technologies, procedures and developing areas of their field.
Content for CME programs is developed, reviewed, and delivered by faculty who are experts in their individual clinical areas. Similar to the process used in academic journals, any potentially conflicting financial relationships for faculty members must be disclosed and addressed appropriately.
Over the past several years, a number of changes in the CME community have taken place, including a decrease in commercial funding of CME, improved measures for outcomes, and stronger rules to ensure objectivity in educational programs.
In response to the evolving CME landscape, the Continuing Medical Education Coalition (CME Coalition) last week announced its launch as the nation’s leading voice for advocacy on issues related to the practice of continuing medical education (CME).
The CME Coalition is a collection of health care providers, companies, institutions and academics committed to the pursuit of sensible policies designed to promote responsible CME.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, the CME Coalition was created to educate policymakers in the Nation’s Capitol and across the States regarding the invaluable role that CME plays in America’s health care system. The Coalition was founded by a steering committee composed of:
The mission of the CME Coalition is to:
- Educate federal policy makers on issues related to the provision of CME,
- Monitor state policy initiatives that could adversely impact CME, and
- Advocate for sensible federal and state policies to advance its practice. The CME Coalition will fulfill this mission by developing, managing, and implementing a government affairs and public relations strategy to further the interests of CME on Capitol Hill, with the Administration and among the states.
According to one of the Coalition’s six founding members, Jeffrey L. Drezner, M.D., PH.D., CEO of Clinical Care Options, “Everyone understands that CME is critical to the physician’s ongoing educational needs as they strive to stay current with the constant breakthroughs and advances of medical science and treatment options. As the clinicians’ schedule gets busier and more hectic, continuing medical education providers and supporters have created new and innovative methodologies and distribution channels that also insures better patient care. This Coalition will allow providers and beneficiaries of CME to better explain the importance of CME and the continually demonstrated value and scientific integrity of our programs.”
The CME Coalition, which welcomes participation from all CME providers, physicians, institutions of higher learning, pharmaceutical makers and medical device manufacturers, will be launching a comprehensive effort to monitor the federal and state governments for activities that might impact the continued provision of CME.
The Coalition recognizes that now more than ever, the need for an organization to represent and promote the interests of CME among the nation’s policymakers is crucial. Whether due to misplaced concerns for potential conflicts of interest, or simply a lack of understanding of the issues, the Coalition acknowledges the growing level of hostility towards private-sector sponsorship of CME among policymakers on both the federal and state levels. This shift represents a serious threat to the well-established cooperation between health-care innovators and physicians; cooperation that has produced significant benefits in propagating medical advancement.
In addition to active monitoring, the Coalition will also engage in lobbying Congress about the importance of protecting the access of medical professionals to CME. “CME providers fill a vital role in our health care system and have a compelling story to tell,” stated Coalition Executive Director Chris Lamond, “And whenever we see an opportunity to share our perspectives with policymakers, we will do so.”
Ultimately, by pooling the support of academics, practitioners, companies and institutions, the Coalition will work to protect CME by educating federal policy makers on issues related to the provision of CME, monitoring state policy initiatives that could adversely impact CME, and advocating for sensible federal and state policies to advance its practice.
More information about the CME Coalition may be found at www.cmecoalition.org, or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.