Message from the CEO: Strategies and Reminders for Ensuring Compliance with the Standards for Commercial Support

In February I sent a letter to all our ACCME-accredited providers with strategies and reminders to help ensure compliance with the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME ActivitiesSM (the Standards). We’ve now published the letter on our website and I hope that all of you involved in CME will review this information and share it with your colleagues. 

Our learners expect us to ensure that the education that is presented to them is independent and based on valid content. ACCME providers use the Standards as a mechanism to help minimize bias and provide transparency in accredited CME. Even if your CME program doesn't accept commercial support, you still need to use the Standards to identify and resolve conflicts of interest for speakers and planners.

Over the last few years, compliance rates with the Standards have improved; however, noncompliance with the Standards remains a common cause of noncompliance findings for accredited CME providers — and I’m confident that we can do better.

I know that managing independence requires careful attention and oversight — and we at ACCME want to support accredited providers in achieving and sustaining compliance. I hope that you will review the letter in the context of your CME program’s compliance with the Standards. If you find that you are not in compliance, please take steps to remediate the issues immediately. We want to support and recognize improvement. During your accreditation review, if you can demonstrate that you have corrected problems, we will take the extent and timing of those improvements into consideration when determining compliance findings.

The letter includes links to resources; in addition there is a lot more information about the Standards on our website, including many examples of compliance and noncompliance with each one. If you’re ever unsure, just email us at we’re here to help.

You can also send an email to let me or us know if you have suggestions for additional resources or successful strategies you’d like to share with your colleagues.

Best wishes for a successful 2016 and thank you for the work you are doing every day to make a difference and improve the health of our nation.

Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc
President and Chief Executive Officer
Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education
(312) 527-9200