ACCME Adopts Simplification of Requirements and Process; April Accreditation Workshop Features Flipped Classroom

Published Date: 
Tuesday, February 25, 2014

ACCME Adopts Simplification of Accreditation Requirements and Process
April 2014 Accreditation Workshop Features Flipped Classroom
ACCME-Accredited-Providers: Complete Your Year-End Reporting by March 31

In Case You Missed It
The ACCME Report, January 23, 2014; Executive Summary of December 2013 ACCME Board of Directors Meeting; Compliance Reminders from Recent Accreditation Reviews


ACCME Announces Simplification of Accreditation Requirements and Process

The ACCME is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has adopted changes to simplify the accreditation requirements and process. The purpose of the changes is to streamline the accreditation system while maintaining high standards and continuing to support continuing medical education (CME) as a strategic asset to healthcare improvement initiatives.

The changes include:

  • Simplifying and removing some of the Accreditation Criteria and policy requirements
  • Changing terminology from “joint sponsorship” to “joint providership”
  • Offering providers an abstract as an ACCME-approved tool to use when verifying performance-in-practice
  • Simplifying the process for organizations applying for initial accreditation

These changes are designed to remove redundancies while maintaining the continuous improvement model and the high standards that are essential for designing and implementing independent, effective, and relevant CME. The number of criteria required for accreditation is reduced from 15 to 12, one policy is eliminated, and five policies are modified. The changes will simplify the process for accredited providers and offer greater flexibility, while retaining the Plan-Do-Study-Act cycle which is integral to the ACCME’s expectations.

These changes apply to all CME providers within the ACCME accreditation system, including providers directly accredited by the ACCME and those accredited by ACCME Recognized Accreditors (state or territory medical societies that are recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of intrastate CME providers).

A list of the specific changes is attached to our news release. The ACCME has updated the Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions PDF to reflect these changes; please use this PDF as your reference for the current requirements. We are in the process of updating the ACCME Web site and other accreditation materials to incorporate these changes.

Implementation of Changes

The changes are effective immediately.

  • Elimination of requirements: Accredited providers will no longer be evaluated for compliance with the requirements that have been eliminated.
  • Change in terminology: We do not expect accredited providers to change or reprint any materials that currently exist. We expect accredited providers to use the term “joint providership” for new materials published after January 1, 2015. Please note that this change in terminology applies to accreditation statements for jointly provided activities as well as other materials.
  • Accreditation process: Providers will have the option of using an abstract to verify performance-in-practice or to continue using labels. We are in the process of producing the abstract.
  • Initial applicants: Organizations applying for Provisional Accreditation will no longer be required to have an on-site survey. Surveys are still required; conference calls are the standard interview format the ACCME currently uses. Initial applicants and accreditors continue to have the option of using other survey formats including televideo and face-to-face, if circumstances warrant it.

Accredited Providers: What This Means for You

Regardless of where you are in the accreditation process, you will no longer be evaluated for compliance with any requirements that have been eliminated.

  • If you are in the March 2014 decision cohort, you were not reviewed for compliance with the requirements that have been eliminated and your decisions will not reflect those requirements. For progress reports that had a noncompliance finding in one of the eliminated requirements, we are providing feedback about your effectiveness in meeting those requirements, in support of your continuous improvement and in recognition of the work you did in the progress report process.
  • If you have already submitted materials for reaccreditation, you do not need to resubmit or change those materials. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
  • If you are preparing for reaccreditation, do not change any of the materials you have already prepared or are in the process of preparing. The ACCME will ensure that you will not be reviewed for any requirements that have been eliminated.
  • If you are in a future accreditation cohort, you will not need to submit materials related to compliance for the requirements that have been eliminated. 

For more information, please see this Ask ACCME Q&A.

Intrastate providers: Please note that these changes apply to all providers within the ACCME accreditation system. Recognized Accreditors are responsible for implementing these changes for intrastate providers. Please check with your accreditor about the implementation process.

Join Our Webinar to Learn More

The ACCME will hold a free webinar on March 11, from 1-2:30 PM CT, to discuss the changes and answer questions. This webinar is open to all stakeholders; however enrollment is limited. For more information about the webinar, including connection instructions, please visit the Event Page on our Web site.  The webinar will be recorded and published on the ACCME Web site.

Future Discussion

The set of changes that has been adopted does not include the following proposals that have been under discussion:

  • Commercial interest logos: The ACCME Board of Directors decided to defer adoption, pending further discussion, of changes to the Standards for Commercial Support to prohibit the use of commercial interest logos in the acknowledgment of commercial support.
  • Accreditation with Commendation: The ACCME is in the process of developing a menu of potential new commendation criteria and will share those ideas with the stakeholder community at a later time. The ACCME decided to separate the simplification proposal from the Accreditation with Commendation proposal in order to expedite the simplification process, in response to stakeholders’ requests.

For More Information

News Release

Simplification Webinar

ACCME Simplification and Evolution Web page

Accreditation Requirements and Descriptions


Call for Comment Summary and Responses—Simplifying the Accreditation Requirements and Process: This PDF includes the summary and analysis of the responses, the ACCME Board of Directors decision, the full text of the responses, and the call for comment survey.

April 2014 Accreditation Workshop Features Flipped Classroom

We are pleased to announce that we are offering a flipped classroom approach for the first time at the ACCME's April 2014 CME as a Bridge to Quality™ Accreditation Workshop scheduled for April 9–11 in Chicago. This educational model gives participants the opportunity to gain knowledge on their own time prior to an event, enabling them during the event to focus on problem-solving, analysis, and interaction with peers and experts.  . More information about this educational approach can be found in “Flipping the Classroom,” published by Vanderbilt University Center for Teaching.

Before the Bridge to Quality workshop, participants will have the opportunity to view a series of modules consisting of existing video FAQs and new videos created specifically for the workshop. These new videos,  featuring Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME President and CEO, describe the ACCME’s expectations for compliance with the Accreditation Criteria and the Standards for Commercial Support. This pre-work will give participants a foundation in the requirements, preparing them to engage in discussions and case vignettes during the workshop.

The flipped classroom is one of several new features and formats we are offering in 2014 in response to attendees’ feedback and to meet your individualized learning needs. Designed for all levels, from CME novices to masters, the Accreditation Workshops offer participants the opportunity to work closely with ACCME staff, national CME leaders, and colleagues to learn practical strategies for complying with accreditation requirements and positioning CME as a Bridge to Quality within their organizations.

Workshop registration is open now.

Special Features for 2014

  • More interaction: We’ve reduced the number of didactic sessions and included more discussion time, vignettes, cases, and examples throughout the workshop.
  • Small group discussions: Integrated throughout the workshop, these sessions give you the opportunity to build on the information presented at the general sessions and discuss strategies for improving your CME program with your peers.
  • Learner-Centered Breakout Sessions: Choose two breakouts on topics of specific interest to your organization and explore these issues with your colleagues.
  • Public Health Imperatives Forum: Explore opportunities for your organization to contribute to public health improvement. Read about the Public Health Imperatives Forum we offered in April 2013.

Pre-Workshop Optional Sessions

  • Self-Study for Accreditation: This session will be offered by invitation only for providers that are seeking initial accreditation or expecting their next reaccreditation decision in July 2015, November 2015, and March 2016. We will send information to eligible participants in February 2014.
  • Newcomers Introduction to Accredited CME: Designed for participants involved in CME for one year or less, this session will introduce you to CME basics, enabling you to get the most out of the workshop.

For more information or to register, click here.

Questions? Please contact Saifra Khan, Coordinator, Education and Outreach, at

Comments from Participants at Previous Workshops

  • “I appreciated the discussion and enthusiasm of the faculty, the spirit of collaboration and encouragement, the intent to help committed providers succeed in the accreditation process, and the balance between effective planning, documentation, and adherence to the requirements to be an accredited provider."
  • "I had several 'a-ha' moments during this course. I found it extremely valuable. It was an opportunity to step back and start looking to improve and strengthen our program."
  • "I have been working with CME activities for five years and wish I would have attended a workshop like this years ago! It really helped me gain a better understanding of all the criteria and it doesn't seem as daunting now...I think this would be a great course to take every two years just to stay updated and to keep reinforcing the information."
  • “The opportunity to hear from—and meet—the representatives of the federal government was a tremendous opportunity for me. It was really amazing to think that they were taking [time] from their busy schedules to speak with accredited CME providers. For me to be able to go back and tell the leadership of my institution that these government agencies want us to help address these public health problems is very empowering.”
  • "As a newcomer to CME, I had a very positive experience with the conference. I appreciated the variety of session styles as well as breakout sessions to discuss practical application of ideas. Overall, I felt the program was well-balanced and helped me to develop my ability to be a critical thinker about the role of CME in my organization, so I can take my work beyond merely filling out our required forms, etc. I now have a framework for understanding CME to take it to a new level in my organization."

ACCME-Accredited-Providers: Complete Your Year-End Reporting by March 31

ACCME-accredited providers: To meet your year-end reporting deadline, you must complete entering data for your 2013 activities and complete your 2013 program summary in the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) by March 31, 2014. For more information and links to educational resources, please visit our About PARS Web page.

Please note: These instructions apply only to ACCME-accredited providers, not to providers accredited by a state medical society. Some Recognized Accreditors (state medical societies) are using PARS for their providers. Intrastate providers should check with their accreditor for information.

In Case You Missed It