CME Travel

Many of us who work in the healthcare industry wish we had more free time. Time to spend with family, friends or travel.   I travel a lot more than my colleagues at work, granted my personal responsibilities outside of my career are minimal, hence my free times are truly mine. If you are hard pressed to get away from work but feel you can’t squeeze any time away, then may I suggest engaging in a CME travel activity.

CME stands for Continuing Medical Education– activities that helps those in the medical field maintain competence and learn about new and developing areas of their field. There are CE (Continuing Education) requirements for Nurses and Pharmacist as well. By completing these activities you earn credits. There are accrediting agencies that grant these credits. Each State has a required amount of credits per year to maintain your licensure.

 Completing a CME/CE activity and getting credit for it can be as easy as sitting on your bed, reading through articles and answering questions. Usually you can get 0.5-5 points per activity.  Courses that are provided as part of a conference can earn you larger amount of credits. My yearly minimum credit requirement is 50.

Many employers provide a yearly stipend so you can attend these CME/CE activities. Some employers are generous enough to extend this offer to international conferences as well. Others only allow for domestic conferences. My employer will only reimburse for activities in which an American organization will be granting credits.  I have attended medical conferences in Brazil, Singapore, Cuba…etc where no American accrediting organization participated; these were personally funded trips.

 So if you can’t get away from work to go on a dedicated vacation, or you wish to visit India, you can find a conference that interests you in India, killing 2 birds with 1 stone. Keep in mind, there are rules to this engagement: Without saying, you should actually attend the conference you registered for in order to claim credit.

Your CME/CE stipend is likely fixed, so be mindful that you can potentially exhaust your budget with a plane ticket if the destination is far. There are limitations on what will be reimbursed. Conference fees, travel, and lodging are typically covered. If you want to arrive a few days early or leave a few days later thereby incurring extra hotel fees, those will typically be regarded as part of your personal expense.

If you are already booking a hotel, you can bring a spouse and/or children with you (their travel/trip fees are your personal expense).  My specialty (ER) covers a broad range of topic areas which allow me to be able to attend a Cardiology conference, an Orthopedic Conference, a Neurology or Dermatology conference. Depending on your specialty, there may also be a limitation on which specific conference activity they will reimburse you for (i.e A Neurologist attending a general Plastic Surgery conference in Bora Bora may raise some red flags).

 Look to your accrediting organization as they typically post a list of conferences at the start of the year. A google search can also bring you to sites like MDLinx – You can search for conferences based on specialty, location, date.

There is also American Seminar Institute which is pretty much CME on wheels- You pay for CME material which is shipped to you, you choose a location where you will be completing this activity, let’s say Cancun. Once you read and answer the question at this location, you return your answer portion to them. They will then send you a certificate of completion with the given # of credits acknowledging you performed a CME activity in Cancun.

 I provided you with just basic information on enjoyed sponsored time away from work and completing your CME/CE requirement.
Before you sign up, be sure to review your CME/CE policy to ensure that you will be properly reimbursed.