In a letter to Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma, the CME Coalition urged the agency to provide an exemption for CME and certain educational materials from the reporting requirements of the Physician Payments Sunshine Act. “We strongly believe that commercial support payments for CME that do not meet the Sunshine Act’s definition of payments should be definitively exempted from reporting,” writes CME Executive Director Chris Lamond. “As a nation, we should be encouraging and facilitating accredited physician continuing education, not stigmatizing it by requiring the collection and reporting of payments that underwrite it.” The letter also notes that while the current FAQ #8165 provides CME stakeholders with solid guidance regarding independent commercial support for CME activities, the numerous updates to the policy via these FAQ updates leaves stakeholders with a need for certainty that only a definitive Final Rule can deliver.
Slides: CME Coalition Presentation at the alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions industry Summit
On May 8, 2018, CME Coalition's Andy Rosenberg and Tom Sullivan gave a presentation at the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions Industry Summit in Baltimore, MD. Rosenberg and Sullivan presented information on changes to the Quality Payment Program that involve CME-related activities. They also reviewed variations to state laws and bills that effect CME, as well as other national issues that effect medical education including shared-decision making, the future of the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS), and the New Jersey gift ban.
As part of the Coalition’s ongoing monitoring and analysis of legislative opportunities related to CME, the Coalition has reviewed all relevant legislation that has been introduced in the 115th Congress and generated a new document outlining specific bills that prioritize the essential role of CME in improving health outcomes
On December 22, 2017 New Jersey’s Attorney General, Christopher S. Porrino, finalized new rules that would place limitations on accepted compensation from pharmaceutical manufacturers or their agents by prescribers. The new rule, entitled “Proposed New Rule N.J.A.C. 13:45J, Limitations On and Obligations Associated with Acceptance of Compensation from Pharmaceutical Manufacturers by Prescribers”, is intended to curtail most transfers of value from industry to prescribers including physicians, podiatrists, physician assistants, advanced practice nurses, dentists, and optometrists. The rule amends regulations to limit these gifts in an attempt to prevent any “conflicts of interest” between pharmaceutical manufactures and providers authorized to prescribe in the state of New Jersey. It took effect January 15, 2018.
In November 2017, CMS released regulations that include accredited continuing medical education (CME) as an Improvement Activity under MIPS. As detailed in the final rule, CMS determines that “completion of an accredited performance improving medical education program” be included under the list of Improvement Activities under MIPS — one of the key policy changes proposed for the Quality Payment Program Year 2. CME should be included in the Improvement Activity measurement category, as these courses are among the most important ways in which doctors seek to improve their understanding of new treatments and therapies, improve beneficiary outcomes, and ultimately, improve their practice as a whole.