ACCME Letter to HHS Describes Accredited CME’s Contributions to Reducing Opioid Abuse

September 9, 2016
Posted by: 
Patty Harrison

The ACCME submitted a comment to the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in response to HHS’ request for information about opioid analgesic prescriber education and training opportunities to prevent opioid overdose and opioid use disorder. In the letter, Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME, stated that the ACCME is committed to leveraging the power of education to improve prescriber practice and to promote safe and effective care for patients.

He shared the lessons learned from the ACCME’s engagement with educational initiatives focusing on pain management and prescription drug abuse. “To take full advantage of the strengths of the accredited CME system, educational guidelines or mandates should be structured to utilize the capacity of the CME community to deliver customized education and participate in rapid response initiatives to emerging health issues," Dr. McMahon said. In addition, he said that continuing educational initiatives should encourage team participation and provide a key role for patients.

"We fully support the ongoing use of accredited CME as a delivery mechanism for prescriber training to support government initiatives on opioid prescribing and pain management. By applying the lessons learned and incorporating a continuous improvement process, we are confident that accredited CME can continue to make an important contribution to reducing opioid misuse and promoting safe prescribing practice,” wrote Dr. McMahon.

The ACCME has long supported the role of accredited CME as a strategic partner in public health and safety initiatives. Accredited CME has made — and can continue to make — significant contributions to addressing the crisis of opioid misuse, overuse, and overdose through the ACCME’s robust accreditation system and accreditation standards.

CME providers have demonstrated their commitment by partnering with their communities, law enforcement agencies, and local, state, and national governments to support initiatives to reduce prescription drug abuse. One example is the CME community’s support of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid Analgesics Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS). ACCME data from March 2013 through April 2016 shows that 96 CME providers, accredited within the ACCME System, reported 647 ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS-compliant activities, educating close to 168,000 healthcare professionals. As a further service to the community, the ACCME created CME Finder, a web-based tool that allows healthcare professionals to search for ER/LA Opioid Analgesics REMS-compliant activities.

Download the letter here.