That's what Tom Sullivan predicts in this post: CME and the Health Care Economy Hospitals and Universities Cutting Back. He cites a decrease in state-accredited providers (the number of ACCME-accredited providers also having been heading downward in the past few years), saying that some organizations are dropping their accreditation due to cost and difficulty of maintaining accreditation these days.
But that's not all. No, we also have state-funded academic medical centers such as the University of North Carolina School of Medicine closing down their CME shops because of state budget reductions, and shrinking budgets are causing hospitals to make some deep cuts that most likely will affect their CME offices.
There's an interesting discussion of all this over at the CME LinkedIn group. Most seem to agree that there is in fact a constriction in the CME community, especially in hospitals where diminishing funds will go to direct patient-care functions at the cost of CME (I guess CME is marginally indirect?). It's kind of strange that CME is viewed as something optional that can be, as one person said, put on the chopping block, but that's not a new battle, is it?
Another posits that CME will continue to swing toward "ePub/internet/smart phone application-based" activities, though others worry that this will result in some pretty awful education that doesn't actually do much to change behavior or improve patient health if we're not careful to balance quality and cost. Others say we'll continue to see a rise in joint sponsorship as more organizations drop their accreditation.
I don't envision any way state-funded organizations, be they hospitals or academic medical centers, will be seeing any big funding increases in the near future—if they're lucky, in this economy just staying even would be a feat. With commercial support also continuing to decline, no one that I've heard of stepping into the void to pay for the quality CME our HCPs deserve, and the number of accredited providers dropping as well, it's going to be a challenge to find ways to keep docs continually developing professionally.
I think I'll dress as a budget cutback this Halloween. Way scarier than a zombie, don't you think?