President's Perspective April 2014


Podiatric CME Reform: Will There Be White or Black Smoke from CPME This Time?

Thomas S. Roukis, DPM, PhD, FACFAS
ACFAS President

One year ago in this space, my predecessor, Jordan Grossman, DPM, described the perilous state of podiatric CME and why it was imperative that the Council on Podiatric Medical Education (CPME) mandate a quantum leap forward in how our CME is developed and delivered.

Dr. Grossman said, “As podiatry stands on the cusp of full professional parity, the profession must ensure that CME standards are equal, if not more stringent, than allopathic medicine’s standards. This is an arena that needs a “sheriff” with vastly more authority – and the will to use it.”

Last spring, ACFAS submitted detailed recommendations on how to take this quantum leap, but to our great disappointment, only a few of our points were included in Round 1 of CPME’s revisions to Documents 720-730 that regulate CME standards. Fortunately, CPME recently asked for a second round of comments and we did not retreat. In fact, we issued an even sterner warning.

We said, “ACFAS strongly believes the first round of (Document 720) revisions is grossly inadequate to meet the challenges facing the podiatric profession. This is podiatry’s weakest link. Our learners expect better, government is calling for better and our patients deserve better. It’s the right thing to do – and it must be done now.”

A summary of ACFAS’ concerns include the need to immediately:

  • Eliminate third party sponsorship completely or put a cap on how many hours a CME provider can offer without holding its own accreditation.
  • Ensure complete independence of activities from all commercial interests – and adding a participant complaint process about commercial bias.
  • Increase CPME’s level of scrutiny in monitoring all standards and procedures.
  • Limit attendees from claiming credits for the whole activity when they only attended a portion of the activity; and require providers to notify CPME if the activity was shorter than planned.
  • Provide a whistleblower system where program participants may file complaints directly to CPME.
  • Require that educational activity design be connected to data demonstrating an educational need and meet Moore’s Level of Outcomes 3 as the minimum requirement.

In our cover letter, we observed that medicine, pharmacy and nursing are now working toward a joint accreditation. We also observed that the CME standards for allopathic medicine, nursing, physician assistants and nurse practitioners all have higher standards than CPME’s proposed standards. And the APMA House of Delegates has met twice since CPME started work on Document 720 revisions in 2012, but they have not taken any positions on this issue.

Other healthcare professions have assured the public that their practitioners will receive education that is designed to be independent, free from commercial bias and based on valid content. ACFAS seems to be the lone voice on this issue. Where is the profession in this “last frontier” in our campaign for professional parity?

CPME will announce the final Document 720 revisions soon. Will white or black smoke emerge from their deliberations this time? We hope CPME shows far more vision and leadership this time for the sake of our profession and our patients.

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