I am just beginning to appreciate the momentous change that has come about concerning CME, now a mandated 80 hours per year versus an honor-bound commitment.
In my view, this changes entirely the spectrum of funding from the BCMA’s CME fund.
My current year’s allotment would cover about three Saturdays of CME if tuition expense was the only component. The Royal College on the other hand demands the equivalent 10 Saturdays per year, on average, as well as the for-profit margin of, what is it, about $375 per year payable to itself, just for keeping a database on my self-reported CME experience. What a huge increase in nonrecoverable costs this is, especially to those of us at or near retirement or on other sources of fixed income.
The Law Society, according to my son, a lawyer, has long insisted on 30 hours per year, along with some required self-study. It is difficult to see these new College CME requirements in any other light than age discrimination.
Still there is some hope for us. Our Education Committee should recognize the altered taxation treatment for scholarships afforded by the Canada Revenue Agency. Scholarships and such are now tax exempt. I recommend the Education Committee at once look into segregating the tuition portion of CME funding as a scholarship or bursary or other form of tax-exempt funding, going forward.
This would ease the disproportionate burden placed upon partly retireds and near-retired boomers who so do want to pursue life-long learning. To do so would be totally in keeping with medicine as an honorable profession. The alternative would be to squeeze us further out of continuing medical contributions to our communities in our later years.
—Robert Grist, MD
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