What is Continuing Medical Education (CME)?
Weill Cornell Medical College is an accredited sponsor of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) to provide CME activities. As defined by the ACCME, CME consists of educational activities that serve to maintain, develop or increase the knowledge, skills and professional performance and relationships a physician uses to provide services for patients, the public or the profession. The content of CME is that body of knowledge and skills generally recognized and accepted by the profession as within the basic medical sciences, the discipline of clinical medicine and the provision of health care to the public. The ultimate goal for any CME activity is to improve patient care.
Not all continuing education activities which physicians engage in, however, are CME. For example, continuing education activities which respond to a physician's non-professional educational need or interest, such as personal financial planning or appreciation of literature or music, are not CME.
Why do I need CME?
Aside from the direct educational value of CME activities, documentation of CME credits is a requirement in many states for licensure. In addition, many managed care companies, hospitals and medical centers around the country require documentation of CME credit for appointments and promotions. The AMA recommends that physicians obtain a minimum of 50 Category 1 credits in any given year. It is also our experience that educational activities certified for CME credit have greater credibility to physician participants, as they have been screened carefully for scientific merit and industry bias.
How do I apply for CME credit?
If you are a Weill Cornell faculty member interested in developing a CME activity, the first step is to contact the CME Office: (212) 746-2631, in order to set up a meeting with the Associate Dean and/or Administrator to discuss your proposed activity and to review the application and guidelines. At that time, you will receive a preliminary one-page proposal form to complete. We strongly advise against significant planning of activities in advance of this initial meeting, as you should be familiar with a variety of ACCME and Cornell guidelines in order to ensure that you do not need to duplicate your efforts.
When should I apply for CME credit?
The sooner the better - although we suggest at least six months prior to your proposed activity date. Here are a few things to consider:
- The Weill Cornell CME Committee reviews applications only once per month. If you miss that date or if your application requires a second review, you will have to wait until the following month's meeting. Dates are available from the CME office.
- Save the date announcement cards for CME activities should be mailed approximately four-six months before the activity date.
- Prospective participants should ideally receive activity brochures no later than three months before the activity date.
- All publicity for CME activities must be approved by the CME Committee prior to printing and mailing.
Applying for and hosting a CME activity takes time, so the sooner the application can be submitted, the better the chances are that your CME event will be well attended and hassle-free.
Are there certain guidelines I need to follow for either commercial support or faculty disclosure?
CME is often made possible thanks to grants from commercial companies. However, stringent Weill Cornell, ACCME and FDA guidelines exist to ensure that all CME activities are scientifically rigorous and free from bias. Documentation of all commercial supporters, and disclosure of any commercial relationships and off-label discussions by faculty members must be made to the CME committee as part of the CME application process, and to course participants in advance of all presentations. This will be discussed with you in significant detail throughout the application process. On a related note, CME activities that include opulent gifts, meals or other incentives, regardless of their commercial support, are not viewed favorably by the Weill Cornell CME committee.
Are there fees charged for putting on a CME activity at Weill Cornell?
Weill Cornell does not charge fees for approving CME credit for activities sponsored by Cornell departments. However:
- If an activity is jointly sponsored by an outside organization, there is a $1,500 application fee.
- If your activity receives commercial funding, there is a CME fee related to the amount of funding received. As of July 2003, there is a 20 percent fee for industry grants up to $3,500 and a fee of 10 percent of the grant or $1,500, whichever is greater on grants above that amount.
- Upon request and staff availability, the CME office staff may assist directly with the planning and execution of an activity. If so, a pre-arranged fee will be charged for these additional services.
Are the application and documentation available online?
Yes. However, we strongly encourage you to set up an initial consultation meeting with us to review your activity before beginning the application process.
The Weill Cornell Office of CME is here to assist you in all aspects of CME planning. If you have any additional questions, or if you would like to consider applying for CME credit approval for an activity you are planning, please contact:
The Office of Continuing Medical Education
445 East 69th Street, Room 1021, New York, NY 10021. Telephone: 646-962-6931. Fax: 646-962-1488