Most physicians receive a budget for CME expenses, and many of those expire on December 31. It’s important to take action now – if you have funds left, there’s a good chance they will be disappear when 2021 ends, and you will then be spending your 2022 CME allowance.
It’s unfortunate that CME budgets typically expire on December 31. This is an incredibly busy time of year, and most of us are not thinking about CME. But that’s the way most employers set up CME budgets. Every organization I have worked for has a very strict rule: CME funds must be spent within that calendar year, or they are forfeited. Per a recent Medscape survey, two out of three practicing physicians are employed, and employers usually set these rules.
Calendar year parameters are even more challenging since COVID hit, as many live CME conferences have been canceled. And most of the live events that have occurred have been considerably smaller than in recent years. Lots of CME funds have not been spent, meaning more will disappear after December 31.
Continuing education is far more important in medicine than in other professional fields. No other area has the incredible amount of research constantly being published, and it’s simply impossible to keep up with all the latest developments. But good CME helps us do that, CME that summarizes recent developments in our practice areas into digestible chunks that we can apply.
I must admit that I’m a bit biased in this regard, as I started a CME company a couple of years ago. But that also gives me good experience. It turns out that sales on December 31 are busier than any other day. People realize that they are going to lose their CME funds, and purchase online courses at the last minute. Our online courses include six months access, so people don’t have to strive to complete the CME right away.
Regardless, as physicians we must strive to stay current in our fields – providing great care for our patients demands that we incorporate learning strategies into our lives. If we don’t, it’s simply impossible that we will provide the best care for our patients. If you have CME funds remaining in 2021, please take some time out to evaluate what CME would be beneficial for you or your patients, and take action before your CME funds expire.
Steve Burgess is a hospitalist and creator, CME Vacations, designed to give participants the ultimate CME “working vacation.” Hospital Medicine Update is available as a CME conference online or upcoming live conferences in Orlando, the Bahamas, San Diego, and San Antonio. Primary Care Update conferences are available in Orlando or a Royal Caribbean Cruise.
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