Currently accredited providers seeking reaccreditation 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 ACCME’s 2006 Accreditation Criteria, including the Standards for Commercial Support and Accreditation 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 will still 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.
At any time in the process, please direct questions about arrangements and expectations for the interview to ACCME staff. Prior to your interview, the chair of your survey team will contact your organization by email to introduce the team to your organization.
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
Trained, volunteer surveyors will be assigned by the ACCME to review the self-study materials you submit to the ACCME and meet with representatives of your CME program to engage in a dialogue about your CME program and your organization’s policies and practices to ensure compliance with ACCME’s accreditation requirements.
ACCME surveyors are experienced CME professionals that 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.