The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) and the accredited and certified continuing education systems have received important validation from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in its final rule concerning payments to physicians. The final rule, called the National Physician Payment Transparency Program: Open Payments, sets forth requirements for the public reporting of payments to physicians from the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
“The CMS final rule regarding physician payment transparency is an important recognition of the value of the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities,” said Murray Kopelow, MD, President and CEO, ACCME. “The final rule creates a special exclusion for payments to speakers at accredited continuing education programs, if certain conditions are met. These conditions are completely consistent with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support. The Standards state that accredited providers must make all decisions regarding CME, including faculty selection, independent of industry influence, and that all commercial support must be paid directly to the CME provider, not to the faculty. The Standards are designed to ensure that accredited CME activities are independent, free of commercial bias, based on valid content, and contributing to health care improvement. We appreciate that the CMS recognizes the importance of accredited continuing education and the value of the Standards in safeguarding the independence of accredited continuing education.”
"The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support were reviewed and approved in 2004 by each of the ACCME’s seven member organizations, which represent the profession of medicine. The Standards demonstrate the ACCME’s leadership in medical education and the medical profession's commitment to effective self-regulation in the field of continuing education," said James F. Burke, MD, Chair, Board of Directors, ACCME.
“The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support have succeeded in being recognized nationally, by the profession, by the regulators, and by the government as protecting the public from industry influence in continuing medical education. This is a peak moment,” said Norman Kahn, MD, Executive Vice-President and CEO, Council of Medical Specialty Societies (CMSS). CMSS is an ACCME member organization.
Accredited CE: Strategic Asset to Health Care Improvement
ACCME accreditation is a voluntary, self-regulatory system that assures the public and the medical community that accredited CME is a strategic partner in health care quality and safety initiatives, providing physicians with relevant, effective education that meets their learning and practice needs.
In addition to CMS, a number of government agencies have recognized the value of accredited continuing education. Federal agencies, including the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, have incorporated accredited CME as a strategic partner in their public health initiatives. In July 2012, the Food and Drug Administration released its Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy, or REMS, for extended-release and long-acting opioid analgesics, which includes a prescriber education program that is controlled, designed, and delivered by accredited continuing health care education providers.
Standards for Commercial Support: A National Model
First implemented in 1992, the ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities were updated in 2004. Accredited CME providers have more than 20 years experience managing the boundary issues created by commercial support and physician relationships with the pharmaceutical and medical device industries.
The ACCME Standards for Commercial Support have been referenced in state legislation as the standard for independent CME. They have been adopted by the ACCME Recognized Accreditors and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education. They have been accepted by the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Nurses Credentialing Center, the American Osteopathic Association, and the Association of Regulatory Boards of Optometry Committee on Optometric Practitioner Education. The Council of Medical Specialty Societies Code on Interactions with Companies includes a section on CME, which states: “Societies will comply with ACCME Standards for Commercial Support, including by adopting policies and procedures designed to identify and manage conflicts of interest in company-supported society CME programs.”
The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) is a nonprofit organization based in Chicago that is responsible for accrediting US 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 promote standards for quality continuing medical education that improves health care for patients and their communities. There are approximately 2,000 accredited CME providers in the United States, whose educational activities draw more than 23 million health care practitioner participants annually.
The ACCME's member organizations include the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US, Inc.
For more information, visit www.accme.org.