The ACCME defines joint providership as the providership of a CME activity by one or more accredited and one or more nonaccredited organizations. Therefore, ACCME accredited providers that plan and present one or more activities with non-ACCME accredited providers are engaging in “joint providership.” Please note: the ACCME does not intend to imply that a joint providership relationship is an actual legal partnership. Therefore, the ACCME does not include the words partnership or partners in its definition of joint providership or description of joint providership requirements.
The accredited provider must take responsibility for a CME activity when it is presented in cooperation with a nonaccredited organization and must use the appropriate accreditation statement.
The accredited provider must inform the learner of the joint providership relationship through the use of the appropriate accreditation statement. All printed materials for jointly provided activities must carry the appropriate accreditation statement.
“This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the accreditation requirements and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint providership of (name of accredited provider) and (name of nonaccredited provider). The (name of accredited provider) is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.” — ACCME Accreditation Statement Policy
The ACCME maintains no policy that requires or precludes accredited providers from charging a joint providership fee.
Compliance and Noncompliance Issues
The ACCME expects all CME activities to be in compliance with the accreditation requirements. In cases of joint providership, it is the ACCME accredited provider’s responsibility to be able to demonstrate through written documentation this compliance to the ACCME. Materials submitted that demonstrate compliance may be from either the ACCME accredited provider’s files or those of the nonaccredited provider. An accredited provider puts their own accreditation at risk when they offer joint providership to another organization.
ACCME has noted that content validity is more challenging to assure with jointly provided activities. Organizations offering joint providership should ensure any contracts or agreements that are developed with a nonaccredited organization should allow immediate and last-minute revocation of accreditation without penalty to the accredited provider for any issues related to compliance with the accreditation standards including content validity.
Accredited providers should ensure that joint providers are contractually prohibited from engaging in any unapproved promotional or marketing activities. Gift cards and other high-value incentives are associated with particular expectations. The accredited provider should routinely and regularly review any website or promotional material that lists or advertises the activity to ensure it complies with accreditation expectations.
Accredited providers are also responsible for the business and operations of any activity that is jointly provided. For example, if refunds to faculty or participants are required and the joint provider refuses to or is unable to cover those costs, then the accredited provider must cover those costs.
Providers on Probation
If a provider is placed on Probation, it may not jointly provide CME activities with nonaccredited providers, with the exception of those activities that were contracted prior to the Probation decision. A provider that is placed on Probation must inform the ACCME of all existing joint providership relationships, and must notify its current contracted joint providers of its probationary status.
Providers that receive a decision of Probation in two consecutive accreditation terms are prohibited from jointly providing activities until they regain their accreditation status. If the provider is found to be working in joint providership while under this probation, the ACCME will immediately change the provider's status to Nonaccreditation.
Joint providership has been an established process for more than 25 years, affording accredited organizations the opportunity to collaborate with nonaccredited organizations to enhance the diversity and value of their educational offerings. Accredited providers are explicitly prohibited from collaborating with ineligible companies on jointly provided CME activities by ACCME’s Eligibility requirements. The accredited provider is responsible for ensuring that jointly provided activities comply with all ACCME rules and are accountable for demonstrating compliance during the reaccreditation process. If the ACCME initiates a complaint or inquiry about a jointly provided activity, the accredited provider will be responsible for responding to the complaint.