CMS Includes Accredited CME as AN Improvement Activity in the Quality Payment Program Proposal
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has included accredited CME as an improvement activity in the proposed changes for the Quality Payment Program. The proposed rule would make changes in 2018, the second year of the Quality Payment Program, as required by the Medicare Access and Chip Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).
In the proposed rule, CMS describes the following criteria for completion of an accredited performance improvement continuing medical education program that addresses performance or quality improvement:
- The activity must address a quality or safety gap that is supported by a needs assessment or problem analysis, or must support the completion of such a needs assessment as part of the activity;
- The activity must have specific, measurable aim(s) for improvement;
- The activity must include interventions intended to result in improvement;
- The activity must include data collection and analysis of performance data to assess the impact of the interventions; and
- The accredited program must define meaningful clinician participation in their activity, describe the mechanism for identifying clinicians who meet the requirements, and provide participant completion information.
CMS is accepting comments on the proposal until August 21, 2017. Download the Federal Register notice here. (You can find the section on CME in Table F: Proposed New Improvement Activities for the Quality Payment Program Year 2 and Future Years, page 30,479.)
“The proposed rule will provide more flexibility and freedom for educators to engage with clinicians in a learner-centered quality improvement process,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME. “We are pleased that the CMS proposal reflects the value of accredited CME and look forward to working together to address the quality and safety needs of communities and the patients we all serve.”
The proposed inclusion of accredited CME reflects recommendations from the CME community. CME stakeholders, including the ACCME, had suggested that CMS leverage the existing CME framework to simplify clinicians’ ability to meet the Quality Payment Program requirements and facilitate their participation.
“This network of CME professionals understands healthcare needs on the local community, regional, and national levels, has expertise addressing public/population health challenges, and has demonstrated success in overcoming implementation challenges. This network has the capacity and expertise to engage clinicians in meaningful work to improve performance, practice, and quality improvement,” Dr. McMahon stated in a letter to CMS.
As the next steps, the ACCME anticipates collaborating with the CME community and CMS to identify a simple, nimble mechanism for reporting clinician engagement that will relieve the burden on clinicians.
Next Steps for the AMA/ACCME Simplification Proposal
The American Medical Association (AMA) and the ACCME have closed their call for public comment about their proposal to simplify and align their expectations of accredited continuing medical education (CME) activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Comments were accepted through May 25, 2017, at 5 pm CDT. We appreciate our stakeholder community’s high level of participation and look forward to our ongoing engagement.
The AMA and the ACCME are analyzing the comments to determine whether to make modifications to the proposal and glossary. Updates will be posted on the AMA/ACCME Alignment webpage.
Reflective of the AMA and ACCME's shared values, the proposal for alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility in accredited CME, while continuing to ensure that activities meet educational standards and are independent of commercial influence.
- View the full announcement for additional detail on the call for comment and proposed simplification of requirements. A PDF version of the announcement is also available.
- In addition to collaborating on the proposal, the AMA and ACCME produced this shared glossary of terms and definitions to help clarify terminology for accredited CME providers and learners.
Upcoming Educational Activities
Online Registration Ends July 26 for August Accreditation Workshop
Register today for the ACCME’s 2017 Accreditation Workshop – the deadline for online registration is July 26!
Designed for all levels, from CME novices to masters, the Accreditation Workshop on August 2-4 in Chicago offers:
- strategies for meeting ACCME accreditation requirements
- engagement with CME colleagues and ACCME staff about the CME environment
- resources to support your own professional development and the training of your colleagues and faculty
- skills to contribute to the national CME system as an informed professional
- tools to position your CME program as a strategic asset
The workshop will feature a variety of interactive sessions to meet individual learning needs. The agenda includes large group discussions to explore vignettes, cases, and examples as well as small group breakouts to discuss the application of the ACCME criteria in practice.
A Newcomers' Introduction to Accredited CME pre-conference session will also be offered on Wednesday, August 2, 2017. We recommend this session for those who have been involved in CME for one year or less. You can add this pre-conference session to your registration; a separate registration fee will apply.
Attending the meeting and planning to post on social media? Please use #ACCMEworkshop, our meeting hashtag.
If you have questions please contact Melody Latham, Assistant Manager of Education and Outreach, at email@example.com.
Save the Date for the "CME for MOC: Ask Your Questions" Webinar: July 11
The ACCME is offering a series of bimonthly webinars to discuss strategies for planning CME that Counts for MOC, and to answer provider questions. Join us for the next "CME for MOC: Ask Your Questions" webinar on Tuesday, July 11, from 2:00-3:00 pm Central; sign up here.
As part of our CME that Counts for Maintenance of Certification (MOC) efforts, accredited CME providers can use the ACCME Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to register activities for the MOC programs of the American Board of Anesthesiology® (ABA), American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM), and American Board of Pediatrics (ABP). This collaboration enables you to benefit your community of physicians by offering more options for high-quality education that best meets their needs and helps them fulfill professional requirements.
When you register your CME activities that count for MOC in PARS, they will appear in our online search tool CMEFinder.org. The earlier you enter an activity in PARS, the sooner it will appear in CMEFinder.org, allowing physicians to find and register for your activities.
Tips and Tools
New Video, "What CME Means to ME," Features ACCME Staff
Ever wonder who works at the ACCME and why we chose this field? “Meet” a few staff members in a video now available on the ACCME website, and hear why CME is important to us!
In the words of one staff member, David Baldwin, MPA, Director of Accreditation Services, “I think that’s been part of what has kept me in this business for so long, that I think we’re all contributing to that end product – to have people, no matter what their circumstances are, and people we love and who work with us, and touch us directly or not directly, get good healthcare.”
ACCME Quick Tip: Using a Single Activity for Multiple Criteria
This is just one example of the type of tips we provide to our followers on social media. To read these tips regularly, find us on Facebook and Twitter, or search for the hashtag #ACCMEQuickTip.
Tips for Receiving The ACCME Report
We’ve heard that some of our readers may occasionally be missing issues of ACCME Report. If that’s you, the following suggestions may be helpful.
- Be sure you are on our mailing list. You can sign up on the ACCME website.
- Check your spam or junk folder. If you do find ACCME emails or announcements there, move the message to your inbox and/or mark it as “not spam” or “not junk.” This will help your email provider recognize emails from ACCME as safe in the future.
- When you do receive an email from ACCME, open it and click on one or more of the links. (If you delete an email from ACCME without opening it, your email provider is more likely to view emails from us as spam/junk in the future. Alternately, interacting with the emails indicates to your email provider that emails from ACCME are likely not junk.)
- Add firstname.lastname@example.org to your address book and trusted/senders list.
Note: We do not publish new issues of the newsletter in July and November, so the next newsletter you should receive will be in August.
As a reminder, you can always visit the “Highlights” section of our homepage for updates and the News & Publications section of our website to access The ACCME Report and other recent announcements.
Collaboration and Engagement
ACCME and Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada Renew Mutual Substantial Equivalency
To renew this mutual recognition, the ACCME and the Royal College completed a rigorous evaluation process, demonstrating that their accreditation standards advance high-quality, effective CME. In both accreditation systems, CME providers are required to base their education on needs assessment, measure the effectiveness of their educational activities, design educational content that meets accepted standards of scientific integrity, and ensure that education is free of commercial bias and influence. The ACCME and Royal College maintain accreditation decision-making processes that are fair, consistent, and objective.
Substantial equivalency is a relationship between CME accreditors based on shared principles and values, while recognizing and accepting differences. The purpose of substantial equivalency is to foster international collaboration among CME accreditors, facilitate continuous improvement in accreditation, expand opportunities for physicians and teams to participate in high-quality CME around the world, and promote education that contributes to healthcare improvement for patients and their communities.
“We are honored to continue our mutual substantial equivalency with our colleague accreditor, the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. We appreciate our long-standing collaboration and the commitment of the Royal College to advancing high-quality education and harmonization across borders. Collaboration among accreditation systems expands the diversity and availability of effective, relevant, and independent education that contributes to improving healthcare for communities around the world.”— Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Executive Vice President, ACCME
“The Royal College sincerely appreciates the opportunity to have participated in a system-to-system peer review process with the ACCME. We are delighted to continue our mutual recognition of substantive equivalency enabling us to further share and learn together. We look forward to our future collaborations as we evolve our accreditation systems in support of high-quality CPD.” — Jennifer Gordon, MEd, CAE, Associate Director, Continuing Professional Development, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada
Jennifer Gordon, MEd, CAE, Associate Director, Continuing Professional Development, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada (left) and Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Executive Vice President, ACCME (right).
ACCME seeks Manager of Systems Education and Outreach
The ACCME is looking for a Manager, Systems Education and Outreach to work in our Education and Outreach Department. The person in this position will assist senior management of the ACCME with education and outreach directed to non-provider ACCME stakeholders and intrastate CME accreditation systems. The manager will develop resources and tools designed to change competence, performance, and decision-making outcomes of those involved in the system, including accreditation volunteers, staff, and leadership.
Updates for Accredited Providers
Change to Web Browser Requirements Effective August 12, 2017
The ACCME, like many other organizations, is discontinuing support for older web browsers that use security protocols that are no longer considered reliable. Please make sure you are using one of the browsers listed below so that you can access the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS), Accreditation Compliance Review System (ACRS), and the Volunteer/Recognized Accreditor Forum.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 11
- Microsoft Edge (all versions)
- Google Chrome (version 55 and later)
- Mozilla Firefox (version 49 and later)
- Apple Safari (version 10 and later)
- Opera (version 35 and later)
For Your Reference
- The National Academy of Medicine recently launched a new action collaborative on clinician well-being and resilience. Join them on July 14 for their first public meeting as they explore promising approaches to promoting clinician well-being and highlight current research. Registration is free and open until July 11.
- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced it will award up to $30 million in grant funding to “clinical specialty societies, clinical professional organizations, patient advocacy organizations, educational institutions, independent research organizations, health systems, and other entities engaged in quality measure development.” CMS says the funding opportunity will be used for developing, improving, updating, or expanding quality measures for use in the Quality Payment Program under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and/or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). The estimated application deadline is September 30.
- The Association for Hospital Medical Education’s (AHME) Council on Professional and Faculty Development welcomes your questions and knowledge about lifelong learning in the new CME, CPD, and Faculty Development section of the AHME Message Board.
- The American Board of Medical Specialties Conference 2017, to be held September 25-27, 2017 in Chicago, is offering early bird registration until July 31. The conference will feature breakout sessions on topics ranging from professional development and skills enhancement to best practices and implementation improvements in Board Certification, assessment, and QI.
In Case You Missed It