Through its interactions with government, the ACCME aims to fulfill its responsibilities of transparency and accountability, inform public officials about the value of accredited CME, and support national health care quality and safety initiatives.
Federal agencies, including the Food and Drug Administration, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have included accredited CME as a strategic partner in their public health initiatives.
Contributing to Public Health Initiatives to Prevent Drug Abuse
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has classified prescription drug abuse as an epidemic. Released in April, the White House 2011 Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Plan and the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for opioid medications include continuing health care education as a central component of these public health initiatives.
The ACCME is honored that the government views accredited CME as a strategic asset to public health and safety initiatives. Guided by its first priority—to promote public health and safety—the ACCME is continuing to work with the FDA, drug manufacturers, and accredited providers, to ensure that accredited CME about REMS meets the ACCME’s standards for independence and FDA expectations.
The ACCME has participated on an ongoing basis in government efforts to address drug abuse. In 2010, Dr. Kopelow made a presentation to an advisory committee of the Food and Drug Administration's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research during a meeting on REMS for extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics. The July 22–23 meeting was held jointly by the Anesthetic and Life-Support Drugs Advisory Committee and the Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. The ACCME was one of two organizations invited to present about continuing education; the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education also made a presentation. Dr. Kopelow explained how accredited continuing medical education could be a strategic asset to REMS initiatives, provided the proper controls are in place to ensure independence.
Dr. Kopelow served as special advisor to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) from June through December 2009. He was one of several experts appointed by the ONDCP to help the office formulate long-term drug control policies that improve public health and safety. Dr. Kopelow’s role was to encourage medical organizations, physicians, and health care teams to integrate Screening and Brief Intervention (SBI) into health care practice. SBI is an evidence-based strategy that has been proven effective in identifying and treating substance abuse problems with patients. The ACCME has a long-standing, ongoing collaboration with the ONDCP.
Supporting the Translation of New Science into Practice
The ACCME was invited to participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Editorial Summit: Advancing Public Health Globally, held in September in Atlanta. The goal of the summit was to establish a sustainable, collaborative forum to facilitate the dissemination of scientific information to health care practitioners, policymakers, and the public. Dr. Kopelow discussed how CME can support the translation of new science into physician practice and improved patient care. He is also participating in ongoing efforts to further the forum’s goals.
Integrating Health IT with Continuing Health Care Education
Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME Chief Executive and other medical organization CEOs were invited to a meeting with David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in February 2011, to discuss integrating health IT with professional medical education, certification, and licensure.
Congressional Meetings: Communicating the Value of Accredited CME
Dr. Kopelow and Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Deputy Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, met with representatives from the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions; and the House Ways and Means Committee Subcommittee on Health in 2009. In addition, through the efforts of S. Kalani Brady, MD, former ACCME Board member and former member of the Committee for Review and Recognition, Ms. Regnier met with members of the Hawaii congressional delegation. The purpose of the meetings was to discuss the role of accredited CME as a strategic partner in national health care quality and safety initiatives.
Addressing Conflicts of Interest
In 2010, the ACCME participated in an Institute of Medicine special project about uniform disclosure of relationships with industry.
Dr. Kopelow testified before the US Senate Special Committee on Aging during a July 2009 hearing addressing conflicts of interest in CME. He detailed the ACCME’s enhanced monitoring and enforcement measures, assuring the committee that the ACCME was an effective firewall between pharmaceutical industry marketing and independent continuing education.