The ACCME said it is committed to shoring up weaknesses identified by the Senate Finance Committee in its April report.
ACCME said the plan includes exploring enhancements, such as adding a monitoring system that may include direct reporting of abuse or placing trained observers in audiences.
The variety of proposed steps in the five-point plan highlights the difficulty in getting to the root of the Senate concerns.
“The big problem is nobody knows,” said Van Harrison, PhD, an ACCME board member and director of the Office of CME at the University of Michigan. “There's a lack of clear data on how big the problem is and how much effort and resources should be put into it.”
Also mentioned: hastening processes used to manage non-compliant providers. That can take up to nine years now, the Senate found. ACCME chief executive Murray Kopelow, MD, who drafted the plan, indicated he is considering a “graded” response to infractions. He also holds out hope that ACCME's Updated Accreditation Criteria, unveiled one year ago, will improve the issue.
A third area is likely to stimulate the most discussion: management of commercial support. ACCME will discuss the future role of funders, including alternate funding models and “discussions on the value, or impact, of no commercial support.”
“ACCME is really showing a concerted effort to respond to the committee findings. They are also buying time,” said Stephen Lewis, a policy analyst and past CEO of an accredited provider.
ACCME staff first must narrow down a list of priorities and then take it to the board in November.