ACCME reports industry shrinkage

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In the last 12 months, 142 medical-education providers either lost their accreditation to offer CME or decided not to apply for renewal, said the ACCME in a report. The tally includes med-ed companies, societies, hospitals and other entities which, for a variety of reasons, have found it too difficult to offer certified activities or, in some cases, to remain in operation at all.

The figures, posted on the ACCME website along with a summary of its December 2009 board meeting, show the extent of attrition taking place in the industry. There are now 713 accredited providers (vs. 725 in 2008) and 1,523 providers accredited by ACCME-recognized state and territory medical societies (vs. 1,600 in 2008).

And this could just be the beginning. With fees and administrative work set to rise and funding scarce, the lopsided equation could lead to further attrition in the med-ed sector.

ACCME CEO Dr. Murray Kopelow foreshadowed a period of winnowing when he told MM&M last year, “The system (enterprise) needs to evolve. System changes will occur, and are occurring, at the people and organizational levels. Some people will move on to other professional pursuits. Some organizations will stop being accredited providers.”

As for the reasons behind the shrinkage, providers today are struggling with less funding, after overall pharma support dipped 14% in 2008 to $1 billion. Three big pharmaceutical companies—GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson—have also decided to no longer award grants to accredited medical-education companies.
Meanwhile, “the increasing administrative requirements and fees are placing additional stresses on providers,” said Michael Lemon, president of Postgraduate Institute for Medicine, an accredited medical-education firm. ACCME is set to increase user fees by several hundred dollars for all accredited providers.

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