How to Get the Most From Your CME Budget or CME Allowance: How to Spend Your CME Dollars Wisely

Nancy M. Anderson, MBA, MSEmergency Medicine, Family Medicine, Internal Medicine, Medical News, Nurse Practitioner, Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Pediatric Medicine, Personal Education, Urgent Care

Best use of your CME budget or CME allowance

How to Get the Most Out of Your CME Budget or CME Allowance: Best CME Deals

So, you have CME dollars to spend before they go 'poof?'  Let's take a look at the best CME budget deals available so you can spend your CME allowance most wisely.

Many physicians, even some nurse practitioners and physician assistants, are lucky enough to have a CME budget - sometime called a CME stipend or CME allowance - for educational purposes for the calendar year.  Sometimes these CME dollars need to be spent each year or they simply disappear when time runs out.  CME budget cycles usually begin and end either on June 30th or December 31st.  This is why you'll see a lot of great CME deals and packages offered just prior to those CME deadline dates.  Nobody wants to see "free money" disappear so board review and CME providers have come up with some every worthwhile CME budget options to help physicians and others spend their CME dollars and maximize their CME funds.

First of all, it's worth noting that CME purchases, in general, may be tax-deductible.  As long as the purchase is specifically indicated for educational use, you can usually deduct any out of pocket expense.  You should consult your tax advisor.

That being said, if you have a CME budget through your employer or organization that needs to be used, your CME department will likely be the gatekeepers to what's allowed.  Again, for the most part, as long as the purchase is for the purpose of CME, you're likely good to go.

Best CME Budget Ideas:

The standard discounts.

Going around the popular brands, BoardVitals, Rosh Review, Med-Challenger and others, you're bound to find  discounts on board review and CME credit courses.  However, Med-Challenger takes an interesting approach in that whatever you purchase never has to be re-bought.  You have the option to pay a minimal membership fee for annual use from there on.  That saves money after the discount purchase.  BoardVitals doesn't offer a year long access period and Rosh Review is more a set of questions with no adaptive algorithms to help guide you and save time.   Both BoardVitals and Rosh Review require full price repurchases.  Med-Challenger does not.  So, in the future, with Med-Challenger you'll likely to have CME funds remain free for other uses next year.

The multi-course packages.

With the added buying power of a CME budget, larger multi-resource "packages" are attractive.  Here BoardVitals does offer a longer access period, but that's about it.  There's no additional content.  Rosh Review doesn't really carry annual MOC resources such as LLSA review for emergency physicians to CKSA review for family physicians.  So, there's not much of a collection to be had.

Med-Challenger offers an array of course collections called PRO packages.   These are more ideal because they tend to cover all the exam and MOC needs in a specialty, including annual MOC resources, specialized CME requirements for state requirements and other requirements for specialized workplace settings.  Their NP PRO bundle for example contains both FNP and ENP courses.  Their Pediatrics PRO contains general Pediatrics and Pediatric EM.  The savings are quite profound when you price out these premium resources.  PRO packages are offered in EM, FM, IM, Pediatrics, NP and PA.  They are already provide a savings - with an additional savings on top of that.  They're worth a look.

The gift card packages.

Now we get to the more exotic deals that provide an Amazon or other gift card in addition to the packages already mentioned.  Both Med-Challenger and BoardVitals offer a $1000 gift card option.  However, as stated before, BoardVitals sells its standard single-course products.

However, Med-Challenger includes their PRO course collections - multiple resources - along with savings - and the gift card.  So, that's the best deal if you want to maximize your CME budget.

If you look at the savings, content value, add-ons, and long-term value...

A Med-Challenger PRO Package with $1000 Gift Card - what they call Med-Challenger CME FLEX Packages - are the best overall way to maximize your CME budget funds now and later and have everything covered.  You can select a CME FLEX package option when you purchase any Med-Challenger PRO Bundle.

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