Continuing Medical Education or CME
What is CME? CME stands for continuing medical education. And every healthcare provider is licensed through a licensing board, no matter what state you’re in. And let’s just take a medical board, for instance. Each medical board will have its own requirements as far as how much CME a physician will have to complete on an annual basis. And then some states will do it annually. So, the physician must complete 30 hours of continuing medical education in one year. And then others will have maybe a rolling average. For instance, I’m licensed in Indiana in addition to Arizona, where I live. And Indiana has a three-year rolling average that I have to get done, whereas, in Arizona, it’s just set at 15 hours per year.
Annual CME Payment
First, identify how much is required by the licensing board. Now, on the employment side of things, if you are employed by a hospital, medical group, small physician-owned practice, or whatever it is, the practice should pay an amount for your continuing medical education (CME) every year in addition to providing some time off. As far as the amount provided, 3,500 is about the average that an employer would provide for continuing medical education for a physician on an annual basis.
Some places are a little bit more, and some places are a little bit less. I’d find that the larger healthcare networks and hospitals are probably on the higher side. A physician-owned group might be on the lower side, but you shouldn’t accept less than 3,500. As far as how much time off is provided, this would depend on the time-off structure of the employer but receiving anywhere between three to five additional days of time off would not be uncommon for continuing medical education (CME).
Paid Time Off at CME
So, when you think about time off, there are usually four factors. You have a vacation, holidays, sick days, and then CME. Some employers will just group all of that into one pot of time off. And so, no matter what you do, if you’re not there, you’re taking time off of that pot. Whereas others will break it down and say 15 days of vacation, five days of sick days, six or seven federal holidays, and then three to five days off for CME. So, that’s what continuing medical education is. Look at your board to see how many you need per year, and then look to the employer to see how much they’re going to pay for you to complete CME, and then also look to see how much time off you’re going to get to complete those.
How Much Vacation Time Do Doctors Get?
How much vacation time do doctors get? Let’s break down what is considered time off and then what is normal. First, I find that many people lump everything into vacation, meaning just any time away from work. No one lumps it like that. It’s generally thought of as paid time off or PTO. And then there are four things that go into paid time off. You do have vacation time, you have sick days, you have holidays, and then you have continuing medical education (CME). Those four things all go into the pot for paid time off. And then that determines how much time off you get.
Normal Amount of Vacation Time Physicians Should Receive
The average physician gets around 30 days of total time off. So, when you add up, let’s just say a normal amount would be 15 days of vacation and five sick days. Now, many states have actual laws in place that dictate how many sick days an individual can get. I would check into that prior to figuring out how much actual time off you get. You’ll usually get somewhere between three to five days for CME and around seven to eight federal holidays. It depends upon the office and then also the call responsibilities of the physician. And this is specialty-dependent, so when I say the average amount, I’m just taking the average amount across all specialties, around 30 days.
If you’re getting less than that, it’s probably not enough. And certainly, if you’re getting 20 days, that’s well below average if you add everything up. Now, there are some specialties that get a significant amount of more than 30 days. Radiology and anesthesiology, for whatever reason, tend to get much more. Obviously, if you’re doing shift work, so if you’re in the ED or a hospitalist, many of you won’t get any time off. So, if you’re seven-on/seven-off, your time off is the week that you have off, and you’re not going to get any additional paid time off. However, I have seen recently, which I’ve never seen before, a few hospitalist jobs that are offering paid time off in addition to the time off that they get, which I think is abnormal but obviously great for the hospitalist.
What to Do if A Physician is Offered a Substandard Amount of Paid Time Off (PTO)?
What do you do if you’re being offered a substandard amount of paid time off? First, you need to go to them and say, look, the industry averages are these, and you’re giving me this, and it’s not enough. You also must consider, as I said before, what your call responsibilities and expectations are. If you’re on call for 75% of the holidays, that’s not true time off. Do you get the day off after you take the call? Sometimes that’s not in the contract, and it should be spelled out. As far as vacation time, I find that most of the larger hospitals and hospital networks have a generous time off policy, and they are not going to bend on that. It’s the same for all the physicians, and you’re going to get what they offer. The room for negotiation is the smaller physician-owned practices.
Those are also the organizations that tend to try to screw over the physician. So, let’s just say you’re just coming out of residency or fellowship. They may say, well, this is your first year, so you only get five days of vacation or something like that. You’re going to be completely burned out. Your compensation structure will also determine how much time off you want to take. If you’re on an income guarantee, say you’re making $250,000 a year, and it has no productivity incentives tied to it at all, well, the more time off you take, the better.
What Factors Are Counted in PTO?
- Vacation: Hospitals and health networks generally offer more vacation (15) than smaller physician owned groups (10).
- Sick Days: Many times, this amount is mandated by State law.
- Holidays: Some organizations observe different holidays than others.
- Continuing Medical Education: Most employers give between 3-5 days off for CME participation.
How Much Should an Employer Give a Physician for CME Expenses?
Physicians need to continue their education in the medical field by attending Continuing Medical Education (CME) courses. The cost of these courses can be a burden on an individual physician’s wallet. To reduce this burden, employers will cover the cost of CMEs for their employees as part of the contract benefits package.
Continuing medical education (CME) is a type of continuing professional development that helps physicians stay updated with the latest developments in their field. It can be done online, on-site, or through other means, such as books and journals. It is not just for physicians; it also includes nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists, and other professionals in healthcare fields. It helps people keep up-to-date on new treatments and technology while keeping them out of trouble regarding ethical issues within their profession. It has many benefits, so read this article to learn more!
Continuing Education for Medical Providers
Continuing Medical Education (CME) can help physicians keep up to date on new treatments and technology while keeping them out of trouble regarding ethical issues within their profession. As a doctor, you know the importance of continuing medical education (CME) to stay current with the latest advancements in your field.
Continuing medical education (CME) can be done online, on-site, or through other means such as books and journals. Some people might take college courses where they can earn credits towards getting a degree if they want one. It is important not just for physicians but also nurses, pharmacists, dentists, physical therapists, and other professionals in healthcare fields. The requirements are variable but typically require 20 hours per year, with many employers requiring more than 40 hours annually.
Credit for Virtual Continuing Medical Education (CME) Conferences
A sponsoring organization often provides credit for completed CME activities. For example, a medical association will provide credit for time spent listening to presentations at their annual meeting. And this information can be used on the physician’s CV or in seeking new employment opportunities with other organizations.
At a CME conference, physicians will see many lectures and posters on different topics in their field. CME is an opportunity to hear from experts about a topic that can be difficult to stay up-to-date with without reading extensively.
A conference may also have networking opportunities, sharing experiences, and discussing new developments in one’s practice area with other physicians who specialize in the same type of care.
Most CME Conferences Offers:
- CME Conferences often include hands-on workshops where participants learn how to apply essential information learned during previous sessions.
- Lunchtime discussion panels provide attendees the chance not only to discuss what has been presented but also to voice their opinions publicly for feedback.
- Social events are another way that some organizations foster lasting relationships.
What Expenses are Paid for?
- Conference Entrance Fees
Average Cost of CME the Employer Pay
A recent survey revealed that employers often spend between $1500 to $4,000 per year in reimbursements for expenses that are included in the business expenses reimbursed to the physician.
Due to the recent pandemic, many continuing medical education (CME) conferences are being held remotely, negating the need for travel reimbursements. However, most employers still provide relocation assistance for physicians when they move to a new job.