A Bad Decision on IFM’s CME battle

A Bad Decision on IFM’s CME battle

I’ve previously discussed the ongoing efforts by the AACME (the main CME accrediting agency) to revoke the CME granting status of various unnamed integrative medical groups. See post at:


But the ACCME isn’t the only organization which grants CAM groups CME course accreditation. The AAFP (American Association of Family Practitioners) does also. The AAFP used to give the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) CME status for all its courses. But that changed in 2014 when its CME status was suspended pending a full review. Recently that review has been completed. Although the result could have been alitte worse, it’s not acceptable and underscores why all the CAM groups need to get together and find another solution to this concerted attempt to delegitimize if not eradicate these organizations and the modalities they teach.

Here is the operative language from the decision, as reported by the IFM to its members:

• The COCPD’s topic-specific guidance on functional medicine now says: “Activities and sessions eligible for credit are limited to those that provide clinicians with an overview or scope of Functional Medicine and the techniques that functional medicine practitioners use, so family physicians can educate interested patients about the topic.
• “Activities and sessions for credit that are ineligible include those that teach clinicians how to perform techniques, modalities or applications of functional medicine in their clinical practices.”

Translation: a doc can get CME credit for an introductory course about functional medicine, but not for learning how to use it in a medical practice. Practically speaking, most of the IFM conferences will be non CME, with all the bad for the group and the doctors that entails.

IFM valiantly tried to put the best face on the disspointing decision by noting that:

“While this wasn’t the exact outcome we had hoped for, there are some positives that should not be overlooked:
• In response to the groundswell of support for Functional Medicine both within and outside our community, we are thrilled to see AAFP take a step forward and recognize the merits of Functional Medicine.
• The decision demonstrates that the patient demand for Functional Medicine continues to grow and supports IFM’s efforts to introduce clinicians to the model to help answer patient questions.”

Seems a stretch to me, but I understand the attempt to see the positive in a bad result. Hopefully, this might cause IFM and other groups to start to meaningfully explore other options.

Richard Jaffe, Esq.

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