CMS Posts Revised FAQ to Clarify that Support for Independent CME is Not to be Reported Under Sunshine Act
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) posted a revised FAQ on its Open Payments website regarding the reporting of CME-related payments. The revised FAQ 8165, which is provided below, replaces an earlier FAQ on the same subject by providing greater specificity with regard to the exclusion of certain CME-related payments from Sunshine Act reporting that meet the standards outlined by CMS. We believe that while this FAQ is fully consistent with our earlier interpretation of the status of independent CME-related payments when CMS revised the regulations in 2014, as well as the interpretation of other leading stakeholders like the American Medical Association, the revised FAQ now provides even greater clarity to stakeholders.
Several hundred leading healthcare practitioners, plus scores of stakeholder groups representing millions of the nation’s healthcare providers, submitted comments in support of encouraging the use of accredited CME to improve the quality of healthcare under the new Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), according to analysis conducted by the CME Coalition. Over 300 endorsements for CME were submitted in response to CMS’ call for public comment on implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), including comments from leading physician groups, CME providers, and other stakeholders.
In a letter to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the American Medical Association and dozens of specialty groups and state medical societies offered their support to legislation sponsored by the Wyoming senator that would exempt continuing medical education (CME) activities from Sunshine Act reporting requirements. The groups urge prompt passage of the legislation, citing confusion around Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) rules and the effect those rules have on the publication of medical textbooks and peer-reviewed journals.
The CME Coalition recently submitted comments to CMS to encourage the agency to include continuing medical education (CME) within the definition of clinical practice improvement activities (CPIA) under the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). As the Coalition explains, "CME has long been recognized as an effective means by which physicians demonstrate engagement in continued professional development. Consistent with the intent of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), CME encourages physicians to develop and maintain the knowledge, skills, and practice performance that leads to optimal patient outcomes. Simply put, without translating the new payment system into meaningful actions for physicians, the promise of MACRA will never be fully achieved."
Today, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) submitted its comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the executive agency's recent proposed rulemaking on the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) outlined in the 2015 Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The ACCME's comments focus on the ways that the national CME system can support the implementation of MIPS and the improvements that the Council believes should be incorporated into a final rule.