Are you scrambling to complete your Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements? Were you provided with a CME stipend and have yet to use it? With the holidays in full swing, you may not have time to spend it on a CME excursion. According to Merritt Hawkins’ 2017 Review of Physician and Advanced Practitioner Recruiting Incentives, the average CME allowance offered to physicians in 2016-2017 was $3,613. So what can you do to make the most out of your CME money to earn your credits?
CME Online Subscriptions with Gift Card Promotions
Many online CME activities come with gift card incentives. This is a great way for you to earn your required CME credits, and get something just for you in return. If your CME money to spend is in the average range, you may find CME subscription bundles for ~$2,000 which would be totally covered by your allowance. In these subscription bundles, typically you will earn your CME credits online over a 6-24 month period and in return, you’ll get a gift card to Amazon, Apple, Visa or somewhere else. So in a sense, you just earned free money to use to purchase anything you may need. Of course, you’ll need to check with your employer if this is a benefit you can use, and if so, it’s a win-win situation for you.
BoardVitals offers the CME Pro Plus Bundle, which is a year-long subscription to any CME activity that includes your choice of a $1,000 Apple or Amazon gift card. This bundle costs $1999 for 12 months access to the recertification board review question bank that covers your specialty area. Instead of studying endless pages of text, the platform allows you to learn through interactive cases and question banks on your own time. Find your CME requirements and get them done from the comfort of your own home, on your own time.
Electronic Device Promotion
Some CME activities include a free electronic device. Just like the gift card offer, it is another great way to earn your required CME credits and you get a great gadget in return.
American Medical Seminars offers a free 128GB iPad with an audio or video CME purchase of $1,385. The iPad not only serves as a convenient way to use their courses which are in MP3/MP4 format but doubles as a great tool for everyday use outside of earning CMEs.
Similarly, CME4LIFE offers a “CME Add-On” feature in their custom CME packages. Your options include an iPad, Apple Watch, Microsoft Surface, or a $500 gift card to select retailers.
CME Conference Getaways
Perhaps you prefer to use your CME money for a vacation getaway. Traveling to a beautiful location and pampering yourself at a resort, or take a cruise all while earning CME credits sounds delightful. Beware of hidden fees with these getaways. Look into your employer’s policy pertaining to the stipend, because they may not cover travel fees and might bite into your allotted vacation hours.
Continuing Education Company offers live CME conferences at resorts and spas in popular vacation destinations such as Hawaii or Florida. Their conferences are typically priced between $610 – $695, which includes “access to the conference, a printed syllabus, a continental breakfast and mid-morning coffee break and your certificate.” Travel costs are not included in this offer and may require upfront out-of-pocket costs depending on your stipend’s stipulations. For options like this, advanced planning is also required to make sure you aren’t taking away from your day-to-day tasks to earn these credits.
American Seminar Institute provides a flexible, on-demand way to earn CMEs anytime, and anywhere in the world. They will ship you their course materials to wherever you are vacationing on the dates you provide. Their pricing is typically between $445 – $540, for just course materials. This option is flexible, but travel and accommodation costs are not included.
There are many options available for you to get the most out of your CME money. Be sure to weigh out the pros and cons, evaluate the quality of the CME content, and read the fine print regarding your company’s policy for using your CME stipend.