The CME Coalition has submitted comments to CMS regarding Open Payment’s impact on CME, including the impact on the distribution of journal reprints and medical texts. As the letter explains, “upon publication of the rule in 2016 there was a significant pause in funding for accredited CME as commercial supporters tried to assess the interaction of the rule and its sub-regulatory guidance.” The letter goes on to note that while a majority of stakeholders have interpreted the FAQs to exclude most independent, accredited CME activities from the definition of “payment,” the Coalition remains concerned that “if CMS were to ever make changes to the rule or FAQs to require reporting for independent CME, we would see significant reductions in both funding of and participation in accredited CME programs.” Further, the letter details the extensive barriers preventing the slightest industry influence from entering the accredited educational content that our members support, provide and rely upon — specifically citing the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s (ACCME) Standards for Commercial Support (SCS) that have been adopted by many accrediting organizations.
At the 16th annual CBI summit on independent medical education and grants, the CME Coalition's Andy Rosenberg outlined the major legislative and regulatory issues that the Coalition has been engaged in throughout 2018.
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.
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.
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.