ACCME to Senate Aging: conflict cop is on the beat

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The ACCME submitted additional testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, pushing back against the notions that the boundary between promotion and education in CME is poorly policed and that commercial support could easily be eliminated from CME.

Those perceptions were espoused frequently by CME industry critics at the committee's July 29 hearing, revealingly titled “Medical Education: Higher Learning or Higher Earning?”

In response, ACCME wrote: “For two decades, accreditation requirements have specifically addressed the separation of promotion from education.” The accrediting body noted that its Standards for Commercial Support, in place since 1992 and expanded in 2004, address the issue. The ACCME took issue with characterizations of an Institute of Medicine committee report. The report, “did not find evidence to support the concept that commercial support of continuing medical education results in bias in accredited continuing medical education,” said ACCME.

Calls to eliminate commercial support of CME fail to account for the complexity of CME funding, said ACCME.

“Although it may seem beneficial to completely eliminate this source of funding, many accredited providers and physician learners use this funding for education that could not otherwise be developed,” said the accreditor.

ACCME CEO Murray Kopelow defended ACCME and CME at the hearing as speaker after speaker portrayed the accrediting body as a toothless watchdog. Kopelow responded that critics' views of CME were outdated and that the lax practices they portrayed were of “another time and another place.”
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