Simplification and Evolution

The ACCME is pleased to announce changes to simplify the accreditation requirements and process. The purpose of the changes is to streamline the accreditation system while maintaining high standards and continuing to support CME as a strategic asset to healthcare improvement initiatives.

Simplification Changes

The changes include:

  • Simplifying and removing some of the Accreditation Criteria and policy requirements
  • Changing terminology from “joint sponsorship” to “joint providership”
  • Offering providers an abstract as an ACCME-approved tool to use when verifying performance-in-practice
  • Simplifying the process for organizations applying for initial accreditation

These changes are designed to remove redundancies while maintaining the continuous improvement model and the high standards that are essential for designing and implementing independent, effective, and relevant CME. The number of criteria required for accreditation is reduced from 15 to 12, one policy is eliminated, and five policies are modified. The changes will simplify the process for accredited providers and offer greater flexibility, while retaining the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle which is integral to the ACCME’s expectations.

These changes apply to all CME providers within the ACCME accreditation system, including providers directly accredited by the ACCME and those accredited by ACCME Recognized Accreditors (state or territory medical societies that are recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of intrastate CME providers).

A list of the specific changes is attached to this news release. The ACCME has updated the Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions PDF to reflect these changes; please use this PDF as your reference for the current requirements.  We are in the process of updating the ACCME Web site to incorporate these changes. We have published updated accreditation materials, including the ACCME Performance-In-Practice Structured Abstract. Please see the section below Resources for Accredited Providers and Initial Applicants.

Implementation of Changes

The changes are effective immediately.

  • Elimination of requirements: Accredited providers will no longer be evaluated for compliance with the requirements that have been eliminated.
  • Change in terminology: We do not expect accredited providers to change or reprint any materials that currently exist. We expect accredited providers to use the term “joint providership” for new materials published after January 1, 2015. Please note that this change in terminology applies to accreditation statements for jointly provided activities as well as other materials.
  • Accreditation process: Providers will have the option of using an abstract to verify performance-in-practice or to continue using labels. We are in the process of producing the abstract.
  • Initial applicants: Organizations applying for Provisional Accreditation will no longer be required to have an on-site survey. Surveys are still required; conference calls are the standard interview format the ACCME currently uses. Initial applicants and accreditors continue to have the option of using other survey formats including televideo and face-to-face, if circumstances warrant it.

Accredited Providers: What This Means for You

Regardless of where you are in the accreditation process, you will no longer be evaluated for compliance with any requirements that have been eliminated.

  • If you are in the March 2014 decision cohort, you were not reviewed for compliance with the requirements that have been eliminated and your decisions will not reflect those requirements. For progress reports that had a noncompliance finding in one of the eliminated requirements, we are providing feedback about your effectiveness in meeting those requirements, in support of your continuous improvement and in recognition of the work you did in the progress report process.
  • If you have already submitted materials for reaccreditation, you do not need to resubmit or change those materials. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
  • If you are preparing for reaccreditation, do not change any of the materials you have already prepared or are in the process of preparing. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
  • If you are in a future accreditation cohort, you will not need to submit materials related to compliance for the requirements that have been eliminated.

For more information, please see this Ask ACCME Q&A.

Intrastate providers: Please note that these changes apply to all providers within the ACCME accreditation system. Recognized Accreditors are responsible for implementing these changes for intrastate providers. Please check with your accreditor about the implementation process.

Resources for Accredited Providers and Initial Applicants

The following accreditation materials have been updated to reflect the simplification changes. Please note that you do not need to resubmit any accreditation materials or change any materials that you are preparing. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.

Sample Preapplication PDF

Guide to the Process for ACCME Initial Accreditation

Outline for the Self-Study Report for ACCME Initial Accreditation

Guide to the Process for ACCME Reaccreditation

Outline for the Self-Study Report for ACCME Reaccreditation

ACCME Performance-In-Practice Structured Abstract (for Initial Accreditation and Reaccreditation)

ACCME Performance-in-Practice Review Labels (for Initial Accreditation and Reaccreditation)

The materials listed above are also aggregated here.

Future Discussion

The set of changes that has been adopted does not include the following proposals that have been under discussion:

  • Commercial interest logos: The ACCME Board of Directors decided to defer adoption, pending further discussion, of changes to the Standards for Commercial Support to prohibit the use of commercial interest logos in the acknowledgment of commercial support.
  • Accreditation with Commendation: The ACCME is in the process of developing a menu of potential new commendation criteria and will share those ideas with the stakeholder community at a later time. The ACCME decided to separate the simplification proposal from the Accreditation with Commendation proposal in order to expedite the simplification process, in response to stakeholders’ requests.

Recorded Webinar

The ACCME held a free webinar on March 11 to discuss the changes and answer questions. The recorded webinar can be accessed here.

Listening to Stakeholders

The changes are based on the ACCME Board of Directors’ strategic planning, the ACCME’s experience evaluating providers under the 2006 Accreditation Criteria and analysis of accreditation data, and feedback from stakeholders.

The changes reflect the ACCME’s ongoing process of engagement with the CME and stakeholder community. In making its decision, the ACCME reviewed the feedback of more than 700 respondents: there were 245 respondents to the call for public comment issued in December 2013; and there were 458 respondents to the informal online survey that the ACCME conducted prior to the call for comment, in the spring of 2013, to gather feedback about the simplification proposal.

In addition, during the last few years, the ACCME convened more than 20 focused discussions with more than 1,000 participants to discuss how to simplify and evolve the accreditation requirements and process.

We appreciate the feedback we have received and your participation in this process. We look forward to our continued engagement with the CME and stakeholder community.

Building on Success

The simplification changes build on the success of accredited CME providers in achieving the ACCME’s expectations under the current accreditation requirements. These requirements have been in place since 2006 with no substantive changes. From November 2008 through December 2013, the ACCME has made 894 decisions for providers seeking accreditation or reaccreditation. The proportion of providers achieving Accreditation with Commendation has increased and the proportion of providers receiving Accreditation with a progress report has dropped.

When the ACCME released the 2006 Accreditation Criteria, its goal was to position CME as a strategic asset to US health care quality improvement efforts. Accreditation data shows that providers are facilitating practice-based education that supports healthcare professionals’ commitment to lifelong learning. Accredited CME providers are partnering with quality initiatives within their institutions, health systems, and communities. Accredited providers have successfully demonstrated that CME is a Bridge to Quality™.

Resources

News Release: Accreditation Council for CME Announces Simplification of Accreditation Requirements

Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions

Ask ACCME Q&A

Call for Comment Summary and Responses—Simplifying the Accreditation Requirements and Process: This PDF includes the summary and analysis of the responses, the ACCME Board of Directors decision, the full text of the responses, and the call for comment survey.

More Background Information

Call for Comment on Simplification: An audio commentary by Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO

News Release: ACCME Releases Call for Comment on Simplification Proposal

Simplification Proposal - Revisiting the ACCME Requirements & Process: A video commentary with Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO, explaining the background and rationale for the proposed changes.

Proposal for Simplifying and Evolving the Accreditation Requirements and Process, May 2013: This PDF includes contains an introduction, cover letter, and the current full text of the ACCME accreditation requirements, with the proposed changes highlighted, so that you can see them in context, accompanied by explanations.

News Release: Accreditation Council for CME Announces Proposal for Simplifying and Evolving the Accreditation Requirements and Process

Archived Webinar: Proposal for Simplifying and Evolving the Accreditation Requirements and Process, May 23, 2013. A PDF of the transcript with slides from the webinar is available for download here.

If you have questions, please contact us at info@accme.org.