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Redesigning Continuing Education in the Health Professions
a process for the voices of those not on the board to be heard, for issues to be debated, and for facilitation of decision making. Other avenues for stakeholder input should continuously be considered and developed, as deemed necessary by the board. Like the CPDI in general, these councils and ad hoc committees should work toward the goal of improving quality and patient safety.
The CPDI is envisioned to be an independent body with membership and financing from both the public and the private sectors. This structure allows for the planning committee to operate without undue influences from individual stakeholders, including federal and state governments, professional organizations, and industry alike.
Currently, no organization within continuing education or CPD in the United States has the ability or authority to bring together all stakeholders. The federal government, through the Secretary of Health and Human Services, is in the best position to provide initial oversight and serve as the locus for coordination toward development of the CPDI. After formation of the CPDI, the Secretary or any other federal department such as the Department of Education would not have any specific formal role, unless one is identified and recommended by the planning committee. Oversight and coordination should eventually be transferred back to the professions when it becomes clear that the government no longer needs to serve in a leadership and coordinating role, as determined by the CPDI board.
As with the planning committee, the CPDI should be sponsored by and receive funding from both government and private foundations. Establishment and maintenance of learning portfolios offers a source of service revenue to support the institute’s work over the long term. Organizational membership fees should be discouraged because board and council members would then be less independent. Determination of the size of the CPDI’s budget depends on its exact functions and breadth, so it will be the planning committee’s job to estimate and project a budget for the CPDI once it has determined the details of those elements. The planning committee should provide guidance for long-term funding for the CPDI and for ensuring that the acceptance of funds from conflicted sources does not bias the work of the CPDI.