Tips and Tools
CME as a Strategic Resource: Discussion of the American Hospital Association Report
Compliance Reminders—Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities℠
Education and Outreach
Registration Now Open for April 2015 CME as a Bridge to Quality™ Accreditation Workshop
Getting Started with Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™: A Free Webinar
ACCME Participates in AHA, AMA, CMSS Events
ACCME Presents at Recognized Accreditor Events in Kansas, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Carolina, and Wisconsin
7th Annual European CME Forum Meeting Includes ACCME Participation
In Case You Missed It
Accreditation Council for CME Publishes Two Reports Addressing Important Issues in CME; All for One and One for All: Interprofessional Education Aims at Fostering Teamwork, Quality Care
The ACCME announces that Kim Edward LeBlanc, MD, PhD, and Victor I. Reus, MD, were elected 2015 Chair and Vice Chair of the ACCME at the annual meeting of its Board of Directors, held December 3-4, 2014, in Chicago.
Kim Edward LeBlanc, MD, PhD, is the Executive Director of the Clinical Skills Evaluation Collaboration, which administers the USMLE Step 2 Clinical Skills Examination. He is board certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and the American Board of Integrative Holistic Medicine and holds a Certificate of Added Qualifications in Sports Medicine.
Dr. Reus is Professor of Psychiatry at the University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine, and former Director and Vice Chair of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology, as well as former Chair of the Residency Review Committee for psychiatry of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.
The ACCME, the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) issued a joint response to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) report Standardizing and Evaluating Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS). In its description of the report, the FDA explained, “This report describes the Agency's findings concerning strategies to standardize risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS), where appropriate, with the goal of reducing the burden of implementing REMS on practitioners, patients, and others in various health care settings.” The FDA asked for public comment in its Federal Register notice on September 23, 2014.
The accreditors responded to Project 2 in the report, “Prescriber Education under REMS: Prescriber Education—REMS and Continuing Education (CE) for Healthcare Providers.” In its description of Project 2, the FDA said: “Numerous stakeholders asked FDA to facilitate the provision of health care provider continuing education (CE) for the education and training that is provided in a REMS program. This project will assess whether it is feasible to provide CE certified by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education, American Nurses Credentialing Center, and Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education associated with a specific REMS.”
In their letter, the ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC said: “As the national continuing education accreditors for the professions of medicine, pharmacy, and nursing, we share the FDA’s aspiration to leverage the accredited continuing education (CE) system to deliver REMS to health care professionals, as described in your report Standardizing and Evaluating Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS)…. We believe that accredited CE can play a significant role in addressing the patient safety issues identified in REMS. We appreciate that the FDA recognizes the value of accredited CE and is exploring how to leverage the accredited CE system to carry out these important public health initiatives.”
The ACCME also sent a letter offering observations and suggestions for improvement in the REMS CE process, based on the experience of the Extended-Release and Long-Acting (ER/LA) Opioid REMS. In the letter, Murray Kopelow, MD, President and CEO, ACCME, said, “We observe that the project plan has many similarities to the process used to develop the ER/LA Opioid REMS, including the associated CE construct. We believe that we could apply some lessons learned from our recent experience with the ‘effort to develop and implement a class-wide REMS-based CE training module’ to augment the project process – without impinging on the FDA’s independence, authority, or procedural requirements…. We applaud the FDA for its willingness to utilize the accredited CE system as a strategic asset. We are respectful of the due-diligence process the FDA has outlined and look forward to participating.”
The ACCME sent the letters as part of its long-standing commitment to communicating the value of accredited CME as a strategic partner in public health and safety initiatives. Since 2009, the ACCME has supported the role of accredited CME as a strategic asset to FDA REMS, provided the proper controls are in place to ensure independence. For more information, please visit CME in Support of REMS.
Tips and Tools
In this video, Ronald M. Cervero, PhD, Professor and Associate Vice President for Instruction, University of Georgia, reflects on the evidence that supports the recommendations described in the American Hospital Association Report “Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource.”
"Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource," describes how accredited CME can strengthen the partnership between physicians and hospitals in order to transform the healthcare delivery model and improve healthcare outcomes. The report states that "CME offers a rapid response opportunity to close competency gaps for practicing physicians," and includes examples of successful partnerships between CME, quality improvement projects, state medical societies, and community initiatives focusing on local health priorities. The American Hospital Association (AHA) is an ACCME member organization.
The report includes the results of a survey of AHA members, showing that they rated the value of CME at 4.2 on a 5-point scale. Most of the respondents who viewed CME as a strategic resource found that CME had value in addressing care coordination, implementing changes, improving teamwork, developing future leaders, driving behavior change, addressing system-based performance improvement, reaching community physicians, and reducing medical liability premiums.
The report includes recommendations for how to improve the value of CME as a strategic resource. It suggests that hospitals/health systems use CME to advance their strategic goals and establish closer links between the C-suite, those developing organizational strategic plans, and CME committees. Another recommendation is that hospitals establish stronger links between CME and quality improvement.
When we conduct accreditation reviews we seek to identify recurring issues that need to be brought to the accredited provider community’s attention for correction. We bring the following examples and resources to your attention in order to support your efforts to meet ACCME requirements.
- Commercial interest employees: The use of employees of ACCME-defined commercial interests as faculty and planners of accredited CME is prohibited, except in the specific situations permitted by the ACCME that maintain independence as specified on the ACCME Web site related to: 1) reporting about research and discovery; 2) demonstrating the operational aspects of the use of a device; and 3) controlling content that is not related to the product lines of the commercial interest. A provider must demonstrate that it complies with ACCME requirements to ensure independence in these specific situations. Without such evidence, this practice will result in noncompliance with Criterion 7 (Standard for Commercial Support 1.1–Independence).
- Commercial interest definition: The ACCME expanded the definition of commercial interest in 2007. The current definition reads: “A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients.” Please make sure you use the current definition in your policies and forms, including disclosure forms. Failure to use the full definition could cause your organization to partner with an ACCME-defined commercial interest; collect incomplete information related to the relevant financial relationships of those in control of content, and therefore not resolve all conflicts of interest; and/or not disclose all relevant financial relationships to learners. This could lead to one or more noncompliance findings in Criterion 7 (Standards for Commercial Support 1, 2, and 6).
- Resolution of personal conflicts of interest: When obtaining disclosures from all those in a position to control the content of a CME activity, make sure to ask for information about all relevant financial relationships—not significant financial relationships. The ACCME defines relevant financial relationships as financial relationships in any amount. The word significant suggests an amount of relative value, rather than an amount of any value. Therefore, if you use the word significant, you may not obtain information about all the relationships the ACCME deems relevant, as required by Standard for Commercial Support 2.1.
- Disclosure of spouses or partners: When obtaining disclosures from all those in a position to control the content of a CME activity, make sure that your mechanisms for collecting this information explicitly include the expectation that the individuals are considering the relationships of their spouses or partners as one and the same as their own relationships. You do not need to obtain disclosure directly from the spouses or partners of persons in a position to control the content, but you do need to make sure that those individuals understand that their disclosures need to include the relevant financial relationships of their spouses or partners. As described in the Financial Relationships and Conflicts of Interest Policy, the ACCME considers relationships of the person involved in the CME activity to include financial relationships of a spouse or partner. That means that you need to consider those relationships when you are meeting the requirements for disclosure of relevant financial relationships and identification and resolution of conflicts of interest. For example, if an individual in control of content discloses that their spouse or partner is an employee of an ACCME-defined commercial interest, you must consider the individual as an employee, and take the appropriate measures to ensure independence. Failure to do so may lead to one or more noncompliance findings in Criterion 7 (Standards for Commercial Support 1, 2, and 6).
- Independence: Accredited providers are prohibited from allowing commercial interests to control CME content by influencing decisions made about faculty, including faculty selection, and by providing assistance in the preparation of activity materials. If you have a policy that allows you to accept guidance from commercial interests, and you act on that policy, you will be found in noncompliance with Criterion 7 (Standard for Commercial Support 1.1).
Resources about the Standards for Commercial Support
The following Q&A may be helpful to you in addressing the issues described above:
- Can accredited CME include the oral (e.g., presentations) or written reporting (e.g., abstracts) of "scientific research" conducted by ACCME-defined commercial interests that is reported by employees of those commercial interests?
- Can a provider offer education on medical devices and still be in compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria?
- Can employees of commercial interests serve as planners or speakers in our accredited CME activities?
- What financial relationships need to be disclosed to the accredited provider?
- What information do I need to collect in order to be compliant with Criterion 7, Standard for Commercial Support 2 (SCS 2)?
- Do I need to obtain disclosure of relevant financial relationships directly from the spouse or partner of a person who is in a position to control the content of a CME activity? (Standard for Commercial Support 2.1)
- New: If the content of a CME activity is not related to the products or services of an ACCME-defined commercial interest, do I still need to obtain information regarding the financial relationships of those that control the content of the CME activity, per Standard 2.1?
- Can an accredited provider ask a commercial interest for suggestions related to topics or speakers for CME?
For more information, including links to tools, sample forms, and Q&A, please see Resources for Implementing the Standards for Commercial Support.
Education and Outreach
Registration is now open for the ACCME's 2015 CME as a Bridge to Quality™ Accreditation Workshops scheduled for April 23–24 in Chicago. In response to attendees’ feedback and to meet your individualized learning needs, we are continuing to offer the improved features first introduced in 2014. As we have done in previous years, we will hold "Self-Study for Accreditation" sessions in conjunction with each workshop.
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.
More information on the April workshop is available here. Another workshop will be held August 6–7, 2015; information on the August workshop is available here. Registration for the August 2015 workshop will open in spring 2015. If you have questions, please contact Saifra Khan, Coordinator, Education and Outreach, at email@example.com.
Special Features for 2015
- Flipped classroom approach: We’ve incorporated this educational model to give you the opportunity to gain knowledge on your own time prior to the workshop, so that during the event you will have more time to focus on problem-solving, analysis, and interaction with peers and experts.
- 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 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 2014.
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 2016, November 2016, or March 2017. We will send information to eligible participants early in 2015. If you are in one of these decision groups and you do not receive your invitation by the end of February, please contact Saifra Khan, Coordinator, Education and Outreach, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- 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.
Feedback from 2014 Workshop Participants
- “The whole workshop was valuable to me. This was my first exposure to much of the material presented. I now have a better idea of how our CME program should be structured for success.”
- “The flipped classroom style is perfect for learning the material. The breakouts gave us an opportunity to learn great ideas from experienced professionals in the field.”
- “Working in the breakout sessions was very helpful in getting information and feedback from colleagues and breakout leaders. The insights from these will be valuable in going back to the office to develop new strategies for and approaches to practice.”
- “I really liked hearing how other companies/entities handle CME planning. I heard some great ideas that I can easily incorporate into my program. I also realized that I may be making more work for myself than I need to.”
- “I thought the case studies and discussion that ensued over them were extremely helpful. I got useful information and strategies out of each type of learning/session offered—the plenary sessions, the breakout groups, and the Q&A.”
- “Thanks also for the great public health panel. The workshop took on an academic tone when you brought people on the cutting edge of some of the hot topics in medical and interprofessional education. I felt that this was one of the most helpful and exciting parts of the workshop.”
Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™ is holding a free webinar on January 8, 2015, 11 a.m.-12 p.m. Central Time, to explain the basics and benefits of Joint Accreditation and answer your questions. The webinar will be useful for organizations in the initial stages of the application process as well as organizations that are considering applying for Joint Accreditation.
The webinar will cover:
- eligibility criteria
- application process and timeline
- Joint Accreditation Criteria
- benefits of Joint Accreditation
If you have questions about the webinar, please contact Jacob Adams at email@example.com.
Joint Accreditation offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to offer interprofessional continuing education activities planned by the team for the team as well as provide individual medicine, pharmacy, and nursing continuing education activities. Joint Accreditation includes a single, unified application process, fee structure, and set of accreditation standards. For more information, visit Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education.
The ACCME participated in the following meetings during the past few months as part of its ongoing collaboration with member organizations. Through joint leadership initiatives, the ACCME and member organizations identify and implement strategies for improving physicians' continuing professional development and patient care.
- Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Executive Vice President, ACCME, participated in a meeting of the Lifelong Physician Development Stakeholder Workgroup convened by the American Hospital Association (AHA) in October.
- Steve Singer, PhD, Vice President, Education and Outreach, ACCME, participated in a meeting of the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Medical Education (CME) Stakeholders’ Networking Forum, held in November in Dallas. Dr. Singer contributed an update about the ACCME. The participants discussed issues of importance related to the medical education continuum.
- Murray Kopelow, MD, President and CEO, ACCME, and Ms. Regnier participated in the Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS) 2014 Annual Meeting held in November in Washington, DC. Dr. Kopelow and Ms. Regnier explained the ACCME’s decision to prohibit the use of commercial interest logos in disclosure of commercial support, as announced in April.
The ACCME participated in the following CME provider conferences during the past few months. The participation is part of the ongoing support the ACCME provides for the intrastate accreditation system and for Recognized Accreditors (state/territory medical societies recognized by the ACCME as accreditors of local CME providers).
- KMS Continuing Medical Education Provider Workshop, held by the Kansas Medical Society
- Medical Society of New Jersey CME Provider Conference 2014
- New Mexico Accredited CME Providers Annual Training Conference, held by the New Mexico Medical Society
- CME Provider Workshop, held by the South Carolina Medical Association
- It’s Essential 2014, held by the Wisconsin Medical Society
At the events, ACCME speakers discussed the 2014 simplification of the accreditation requirements and process, and the proposal for a menu of new criteria for Accreditation with Commendation. ACCME speakers facilitated discussions, asking participants: How many of the proposed criteria should be required to demonstrate compliance for Accreditation with Commendation? How should the menu be structured? Should any of the proposed criteria be required to achieve Accreditation with Commendation? How should the standard for awarding compliance be set?
ACCME presenters also explored the strategic value of CME. They gave an overview of "Continuing Medical Education as a Strategic Resource," a report published by the American Hospital Association's Physician Leadership Forum. They described the scope of the ACCME accreditation system nationally and in individual states, exploring how CME can be a strategic asset in support of national and local public health initiatives. They discussed how accredited CME can contribute strategic support to medical education across the continuum, including the Clinical Learning Environment Review (CLER) program of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Maintenance of Licensure (MOL), and the ABMS Program for Maintenance of Certification (ABMS MOC®).
Kate Regnier, MA, MBA, Executive Vice President, ACCME, participated in a panel discussion at the 7th Annual European CME Forum, held in London in November. The panel focused on the evolution in CME funding in Europe and the US. Ms. Regnier’s participation in the meeting was part of the ACCME’s commitment to support collaboration in the global CME community.
Reminders for Accredited Providers
ACCME-accredited providers: We have sent invoices for the 2015 ACCME annual accreditation fee, with payment due by February 2, 2015. If you have not received your invoice, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Consistent with last year, in 2015 this fee will again be $5,300. The 2015 fee schedule is available here. The invoices will be addressed to the person designated by your organization as the billing contact. Please login to the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to view and, if needed, update the billing contact for your organization.
Please note: This information applies only to ACCME-accredited providers, not to providers accredited by a state medical society. Intrastate providers should check with their accreditor for information regarding accreditation fees.
To meet your year-end reporting requirements, you must enter data for your 2014 activities and your 2014 program summary in the ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS). PARS is always open and we encourage you to start entering 2014 activity data now in anticipation of the year-end reporting deadline. You are welcome to enter basic information about an activity before it has taken place and complete the entry after the activity.
Deadline: For ACCME-accredited providers the deadline for completing the 2014 year-end report is March 31, 2015. Providers accredited by a state medical society may be required to complete their 2014 year-end report earlier, and should check with their accreditor for information.
For 2014, providers have the option to report the competency(ies) that each activity was designed to address. To accommodate this change, the instructions and templates for batch uploading 2014 activity data have been revised and can be found here:
For more information and links to educational resources, please visit our About PARS Web page.
The Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) is open for data entry for the 2015 reporting year and as we previously announced, you will find we have made some changes in PARS for this 2015 reporting year. The deadline for completing data entry for the 2015 reporting year is not until March 31, 2016, but we are reminding you now in order to give you time to prepare and to familiarize yourself with the changes. As always, you can enter basic information about an activity before it has taken place and complete the entry after the activity. There are no changes involved in opening activities.
For more information, visit About PARS.
- “Accreditation Council for CME Publishes Two Reports Addressing Important Issues in CME”: The ACCME reports review the research about the effectiveness of continuing medical education and address questions about whether there is a relationship between commercial support and bias in CME activities.
- “All for One and One for All: Interprofessional Education Aims at Fostering Teamwork, Quality Care,” published in The American Nurse, describes the increasing interest in Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™, which offers organizations the opportunity to be simultaneously accredited to provide medical, pharmacy, and nursing CE through a single, unified application process, fee structure, and set of accreditation standards.