Advocacy groups set to meet with Senate staff members

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CME advocates will take a targeted set of talking points with them this fall to meetings with representatives on Capitol Hill.

The Coalition for Healthcare Communication plans to speak with aides to Sens. Max Baucus and Charles Grassley, the ranking Democrat and Republican on the Senate Finance Committee respectively, about a bill co-sponsored by Grassley.

The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, also sponsored by Herb Kohl (D-WI), would require drug and device firms to report gifts to doctors.

“This isn't a transparency bill; this is a gotcha bill,” said John Kamp, coalition executive director. That's because not reporting payments would equate to violations with penalties ranging from $10,000 to $100,000 per violation, he said.

Kamp said he is also concerned that some people “wrongly think” that a gift to a physician is attendance at a certified CME program or receiving a stipend for being a faculty member.

Meanwhile, the Alliance for CME (ACME) is scheduled to have a sit-down with Senate staff Oct. 16 to provide information about the alliance's role in educating CME professionals, said Sue Ann Capizzi, ACME president. The meeting was prompted by the committee's report, “Use of Educational Grants by Pharmaceutical Manufacturers.” In an open letter to members in June, Capizzi explained that a task force was assembled to study the report and determine how best to address issues raised.

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