Only certain organizations are eligible to receive ACCME accreditation. The following criteria must be met before an organization will be considered for ACCME accreditation:
The organization must,
- Be developing and/or presenting a program of CME for physicians on a regular and recurring basis.
- Not be a commercial interest.
- Not be developing and/or presenting a program of CME that is, in the judgment of the ACCME, devoted to advocacy on unscientific modalities of diagnosis or therapy.
- Present activities that have “valid” content. Specifically, the organization must be presenting activities that promote recommendations, treatment or manners of practicing medicine that are within the definition of CME. Providers are not eligible for accreditation if they present activities that promote treatments that are known to have risks or dangers that outweigh the benefits or are known to be ineffective in the treatment of patients.
The ACCME accredits the following institutions, if they choose to seek accreditation:
- State medical societies,
- Liaison Committee for Medical Education (LCME)-accredited schools of medicine,
- National physician membership organizations
- National medical specialty societies and
- Other organizations whose programs of CME serve physician learners, 30% or more of whom are from beyond the home or contiguous state(s) of the organization. Organizations whose programs of CME primarily serve physician learners, 70% or more of whom are from the home or contiguous state(s) of the organization, are usually accredited by an ACCME recognized state medical society. Note that a CME provider may not maintain both ACCME accreditation and accreditation by a state medical society at the same time. If a state medical society accredited provider alters its function and successfully achieves ACCME accreditation, that provider must notify the respective state medical society. A similar process follows for ACCME accredited providers that become accredited by a state medical society.
When there is a question regarding eligibility, the ACCME reserves the right to make decisions on the issue, and has a formal process in place to do so.
ACCME Corporate Structure Review Process
The ACCME’s Corporate Structure Review process is in place to assist organizations in determining whether they, or an educational partner, may be an ACCME-defined commercial interest.
The intent is to ensure that accredited CME and eligibility to be accredited be kept separate and independent from commercial interests, as required by the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support.
The ACCME has provided a set of self-assessment questions for use in determining whether an entity may be a commercial interest. The six self-assessment questions may be found here.
If an organization answers yes to any of these questions, they would be defined by ACCME as a commercial interest. If after answering these questions, the organization still has questions regarding its status, it may wish to request that the ACCME conduct a corporate structure review.
An organization may contact the ACCME directly at firstname.lastname@example.org if they wish to pursue having ACCME perform a corporate structure review. There is a fee ($4,000) for non-accredited entities that wish to have a corporate structure review conducted.
For More Information
Definition of a Commercial Interest
Standard for Commercial Support 1: Independence
What is an example of a corporate structure that meets the ACCME's requirements for independence?
Can employees of commercial interests serve as planners or speakers in our accredited CME activities?
What kind of topics do not relate to the business lines or products of the employer?
What involvement can industry have in the planning and implementation of CME?