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TIME-CONSUMING: Lisa Hathaway Stella, CMP, director of indus- try relations and meetings and education for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation, said grant writing has become “a litera- ture review; it’s interviewing key opinion leaders and establish- ing the true need for the program.You didn’t used to spend hours doing research to justify the program, and nowthat’s a requirement.”


competition in the past, but it most definitely is today,” John- son said. “And you need to position yourself as best you can.” In the old days, a grant proposal might have been a one-


tape/DVD sales. At The Endocrine Society, industry support is currently


about 26 percent of totalCME income. “It used to be higher,” saidWanda Johnson, CMP, CAE, senior director of meetings and education. “It’s definitely a different landscape today.” MECCs have traditionally been the most dependent on


industry support, so it’s no surprise they are feeling the brunt of the decrease. In 2010, accredited MECCs received $93 mil- lion less in commercial support than the year before, accord- ing to ACCME, while total income for accredited MECCs fell for the third straight year. “We’ve seen a lot of companies go out of business,” said Tom Sullivan, president and founder of Rockpointe Corporation, a Columbia, Md.–based MECC.


Devil’s in the Details Whether a CME provider accepts a lot or only a little industry support, the competition for the shrinking number of grants has gotten tougher, and pressure to write a successfulgrant proposalis greater than ever. “We may not have viewed it as a


TIMELINE: INDUSTRY-BACKED CME 2004


 The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Edu- cation (ACCME) releases updated Standards for Commercial Support, addressing conflicts of interest, transparency, and independence. All CME providers must comply with the stan- dards in order to obtain accreditation.


2006


 ACCME releases Accreditation Criteria, which incorpo- rate the 2004 Standards for Commercial Support and shift focus to CME effectiveness. The criteria state that CME pro- grams should be designed to change physicians’ competence or performance, or patient outcomes, and that all accredited providers must evaluate their programs’ effectiveness in achieving those goals.


www.pcma.org pcmaconvene April 2012 47


page explanation of the planned activity. Today it must pro- vide a data-driven needs assessment that explains the practice gap and justifies the need for the programming. It must incor- porate adult-learning principles and provide evidence that the


“We may not have viewed it as a competition in the past, but it most definitely is today.”


activity will result in changed physician behavior and improved patient care. And every CME grant proposalmust adhere to stringent industry and federal guidelines designed to ensure that industry-sponsored CME is scientifically rigorous and free from bias. “It is very time-consuming,” said Lisa Hathaway Stella,


CMP, director of industry relations and meetings and educa- tion for the Cardiovascular Research Foundation (CRF). “It’s


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