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.
In a letter to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY), the CME Coalition applauded the Senator for his recent introduction of legislation which appropriately exempts CME and certain educational materials from the reporting requirements of the Physician Payment Sunshine Act (Sunshine Act). As the Coalition writes to Sen. Barrsso, who is also a practicing physician, "While the Sunshine Act intended to make payments from commercial entities to physicians more transparent, we believe that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) has confused and misread Congressional intent, providing a mix of regulatory interpretations that have called into question whether independent, accredited CME activities could also be subject to the law’s reporting requirements... Your approach, which enjoys significant bipartisan support in the House of Representatives, and was overwhelmingly passed by that body as part of the “21st Century Cures” legislation, will help end much of the confusion among physicians and within the CME stakeholder community. We believe that your bill will reduce physician reluctance to participate in accredited CME by eliminating the “chilling effect” that exists today as a result of Open Payments reporting. We look forward to your bill’s consideration and passage by the full Senate. "