Within the framework of the ACCME’s requirements, there is an opportunity for ACCME-accredited providers to plan and implement CME activities with organizations that are not accredited by ACCME. This approach, called “joint sponsorship,” accounts for a sizable portion of the CME conducted annually by ACCME-accredited providers.
As shown in the 2010 ACCME Annual Report, nearly 28% of the 80,000 CME activities corresponding to nearly 2 million physician and non-physician participants were jointly sponsored CME activities. To ensure that joint sponsorship contributes to the planning and implementation of CME activities in compliance with ACCME expectations, accredited providers should be aware of the due diligence required.
Accountability of the ACCME-accredited Provider
The ACCME expects all CME activities to be in compliance with the ACCME Criteria, the Standards for Commercial Support, and policies (accreditation requirements). In cases of joint sponsorship, it is the ACCME-accredited provider’s responsibility to be able to demonstrate this compliance to the ACCME. Additionally, several ACCME Policies outline specific requirements for joint sponsorship.
Who is Eligible to Engage in Joint Sponsorship?
ACCME-accredited providers with an accreditation status of “Provisional Accreditation – 2 years”, “Accreditation – 4 years”, or “Accreditation with Commendation – 6 years” are permitted to engage in joint sponsorship. If an ACCME-accredited provider receives an accreditation status of “Probation,” it may not jointly sponsor CME activities with non-accredited 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 sponsorship relationships, and must notify its current contracted joint sponsors of its probationary status.)
ACCME-defined commercial interests cannot engage in the joint sponsorship of accredited CME activities.