Misbehaving docs use CME to learn from mistakes

State licensing boards, hospitals and medical groups are assigning continuing medical education (CME) courses to curb physician misconduct. As disciplinary tools, CME courses help doctors learn from their mistakes and prevent future offenses, notes American Medical News.

When a physician commits less severe violations--prescribing meds for a friend or family member or yelling at a co-worker in front of other employees and patients--CME can be applied in lieu of drastic punishments like revoking a medical license. These physicians would take CME courses such as physician-patient communication, anger management, and proper prescribing and recordkeeping, notes amednews.

On top of CME coursework, disciplined physicians usually pay a fine or undergo an evaluation of clinical competence. The mandated CME also comes with a hefty price tag, with disciplined doctors paying anywhere from $500 to $4,000.

In addition to correcting behavior, many medical groups advocate using CME as a preventive tool to teach doctors about potential problem areas. "It would be nice to treat people before they fall into the water, rather than waiting for them to drown and having to resuscitate them," Dr. Montgomery, of the Sante Center, told amednews.

Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., adopted that approach and plans to expand its preventive course program for physicians and medical students to include nurse practitioners and physician assistants.

Most CME courses are assigned to misbehaving doctors, but medical board officials hope more healthcare professionals will voluntary choose to receive corrective education, notes amednews.

For more:
- read the American Medical News article