Continuing Medical Education (CME) Coalition Releases Results of New Physician Survey
A survey of physicians conducted by the CME Coalition shows strong backing for commercial support for CME. Today, the Coalition submitted these results in its comments to the Senate Aging Committee for its stakeholder roundtable on the Sunshine Act.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 12, 2012
Today, the CME Coalition released the results of a comprehensive physician survey on the importance of continuing medical education and the potential impact of the Sunshine Act, should CMS determine that commercial support for CME must be disclosed as "payments to physicians" under the Act. The survey's results were included in comments submitted to the Senate Special Committee on Aging in advance of today's Committee Stakeholder Roundtable on the Sunshine Act.
In a recent survey of 515 physicians across the United States, respondents testified overwhelmingly to both their reliance on CME to improve patient outcomes, and to the importance of commercial support in making these programs financially viable. According to the report, 94 percent of doctors have attended accredited CME events in the last year, and over half of those polled had attended four or more events. Further, physicians clearly recognize the positive impact that accredited CME can have on their ability to improve health care outcomes for their patients. When it comes to both ‘[keeping] current with the practice of medicine’ and ‘[improving] patient outcomes,’ over 95 percent of those polled said that CME was at least ‘moderately important’ – with over two-thirds reporting that CME is ‘very important’ in keeping up with the latest innovations in their industry.
But despite their recognition that continued medical education increases their capacity to improve the quality of care that they provide, many health care professionals indicate that the reporting requirements mandated by the proposed rule implementing the Sunshine Act will chill their participation in such courses. A significant majority of physicians fear that having their information cataloged in a publicly available database as having received ‘payment’ from corporate supporters of CME programs will create the stigma that there is bias in these courses, and that their participation is somehow inappropriate. When asked if “attendance at a commercially supported CME event was reported in a public, online, government database as a ‘payment’ from the corporate supporter, would this affect [the] decision to attend CME courses,” 75 percent of doctors responded that it would at least affect their decision ‘somewhat,’ and 47 percent said that their decision would be affected ‘to a great extent.’
Moreover, results seem to similarly indicate that significantly fewer physicians would be willing to take leadership at CME events under CMS’ proposed rule for the Sunshine Act, as 47 percent responded that their decision to participate as a panelist or presenter would be affected ‘to a great extent’ under the proposed rule. Additionally, health care providers recognize the important role of companies in providing the financial support – which would not be otherwise available – that is necessary to put on CME events. Among those surveyed, 89 percent of physicians agreed that health care companies should be at least ‘somewhat’ encouraged to provide financial support to underwrite accredited continuing medical education programming and online resources, two-thirds of which thought their financial support should be encouraged ‘to a great extent.’
For more information on the survey results, or to read the comments that were submitted to the Senate Aging Committee, please visit the CME Coalition at www.cmecoalition.org.