Initial applicants for ACCME accreditation must participate in an ACCME interview. The interview provides an opportunity for your organization to discuss your CME program and your organization’s policies and practices to ensure compliance with the ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria, the Standards for Commercial Support and policies (accreditation requirements).
All organizations will be billed for the costs associated with the accreditation interview. These costs are separate from the accreditation review fee and will vary depending on the interview format utilized. (See Accreditation Fee Schedule.)
The ACCME utilizes the conference call as its standard accreditation interview format. Interviews typically average 90 minutes in length. Providers have the option of requesting other interview formats, and the ACCME may require another interview format. If an alternative format is warranted, arrangements will be made at the time interview dates are solicited.
Please note, your organization must have a CME activity reviewed. Activity review entails the observation of one of your organization's CME activities by an ACCME volunteer surveyor. This requirement must be fulfilled as a part of your organization's initial interview process, or as part of your organization's subsequent reaccreditation review process.
Prior to your interview, the chair of your survey team will contact your organization by email to introduce the team to your organization. However, throughout the initial accreditation process, please direct all questions, including those about arrangements and expectations for the interview to ACCME staff.
In preparation for the interview, it is important to consider the following:
- The interview is a dialogue between your organization and ACCME surveyors. It is intended to generate understanding of the goals and strategies of your CME program. Therefore, the individuals responsible for planning and implementing your CME program should participate in the interview.
- Your organization should be prepared to discuss the strengths, accomplishments, and challenges of its CME program.
- Your organization should be prepared to present and clarify evidence that demonstrates compliance with the ACCME’s accreditation requirements.
What to Expect at Your ACCME Interview
Volunteer surveyors who have been trained by the ACCME to ask questions to help enhance and support the data provided in the self-study report and performance-in-practice review will be assigned to review the self-study materials you submit to the ACCME. They will meet with representatives of your CME program to engage in a dialogue about your program and your organization’s policies and practices to ensure compliance with the ACCME’s accreditation requirements.
ACCME surveyors are experienced CME professionals who engage in initial and ongoing ACCME surveyor training. In order to ensure independence, you can expect that your surveyors will not have any current or immediate prior affiliation with your organization. If something about your organization’s relationship with its surveyor(s) gives rise to a conflict of interest, or the appearance of a conflict of interest, you may request a new surveyor. The ACCME will make the final decision regarding the need for a change.
If a surveyor is unable to participate in a scheduled interview and all attempts to obtain another surveyor of equal qualifications have failed, then ACCME staff may resolve the situation by, for instance, having one surveyor connected via teleconference, or using ACCME staff as substitute. Such exceptions would only be allowed with the permission of the provider. In these instances, the provider has the right to request that the interview be rescheduled.
It is the surveyors’ primary responsibility to gather data and information related to your CME program’s compliance with the ACCME’s accreditation requirements. You can expect ACCME surveyors to conduct their interactions in a professional manner, communicating clearly and effectively, without offering consultative advice or feedback regarding compliance or the expected outcome of the accreditation review. Because the interview is intended to be collegial and fact-finding in nature, the ACCME does not permit providers to bring legal counsel with them to the interview, nor does the ACCME permit interviews to be recorded or transcribed in any manner.
At the time of the interview, the surveyors will seek clarification about any questions they may have about the self-study information materials you submitted to the ACCME. The surveyors will also be eager to hear about creative strategies that your organization has implemented to achieve its goals, as well as plans that it has in place to produce future improvements. The surveyors may request or collect information in support of your compliance that was not included in your self-study report or in the evidence of performance-in-practice submitted for selected activities. The surveyors will record and report their findings to the ACCME, using the ACCME’s Surveyor Report and Documentation Review forms, and, if applicable, the Activity Review form. Once the ACCME has received all information from the surveyors, the ACCME decision-making process will begin.
Your organization will be invited to complete an evaluation form to provide feedback about the self-study and interview processes. The ACCME uses this feedback to analyze its current practices and make improvements where needed. Feedback that relates to your surveyors will be provided to them anonymously, and only after a decision has been made regarding your organization’s accreditation status.