The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has released a summary of its Board of Directors meeting, held July 16-17, 2009, at its Chicago offices.
The Board reviewed the responses to the calls-for-comment on three proposals related to the funding and independence of continuing medical education (CME) and decided not to take action at this time. The three proposals, issued in April, called for new designation and review processes for Commercial Support-Free Accredited CME and Promotional Teacher and Author-Free Accredited CME, and for the creation of an independent granting entity that would accept unrestricted donations for accredited CME activities.
The recent proposals and calls-for-comment were part of the ACCME’s ongoing effort, initiated in January 2007, to lead a national dialogue regarding the role of commercial interests in CME and the future of commercial support. "The ACCME appreciates the thoughtful responses offered by the CME community to our recent calls-for-comment," said Murray Kopelow, MD, ACCME Chief Executive. "While it is not taking action at this time, the ACCME will continue to listen to the ongoing debates regarding commercial support that are taking place in the CME community and among leading institutions of medicine. The ACCME is accountable to its stakeholders and the public for safeguarding CME's independence from commercial interests. As the health care environment continues to evolve, the ACCME is committed to facilitating dialogue about how to meet new challenges and further strengthen the independence of accredited CME."
In addition to the commercial-support-related proposals, the ACCME had issued a call for comment regarding a rule making proposal. After reviewing the responses, the board did adopt "Rule making at ACCME," and will begin implementation immediately. The new policy increases the transparency of ACCME's process for seeking public comment and adopting new rules.
Controlling Accreditation Costs
In response to feedback it has received from CME providers, accreditors and member organizations regarding the current economic environment, the Board of Directors decided to explore steps for controlling the costs of accreditation. The Board will evaluate the ACCME's future fee structure for accredited providers, as well as the costs associated with the state accreditation system. As an immediate step, the ACCME will begin using conference calls as the standard accreditation interview format beginning with the March 2010 decision cycle, representing a 20 percent reduction in costs for some providers. For more information, see the August 11, 2009 news release, "ACCME Reminds Providers about Deadlines, Policies and New Interview Format."
December Roundtable Meeting
At its December 2009 meeting, the Board of Directors will convene a "roundtable meeting" with leadership and staff from the ACCME's seven member organizations and from a range of stakeholder organizations, such as the Alliance for CME, the Alliance of Independent Academic Medical Centers, the Society for Academic CME and the North American Association of Medical Education and Communications Companies. By bringing together a spectrum of CME stakeholders, the ACCME aims to build communication and dialogue about how to achieve the organizations' shared goals of ensuring that accredited CME is independent of commercial interests, based on valid content and designed to improve physician practice and patient care and safety.
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education is a not-for-profit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting U.S. institutions that offer continuing medical education through a voluntary, self-regulatory system. The ACCME also has a system for recognizing state medical societies as accreditors for local organizations offering CME.
The ACCME's mission is to identify, develop and enforce standards for quality continuing medical education that improves health care for patients and their communities. There are currently approximately 2,500 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose educational activities draw more than 17 million health care practitioner participants annually.