The ACCME defines joint sponsorship as the sponsorship of a CME activity by one accredited and one nonaccredited organization. Please note: the ACCME does not intend to imply that a joint sponsorship relationship is an actual legal partnership. Therefore, the ACCME does not include the words partnership or partners in its definition of joint sponsorship or description of joint sponsorship requirements.
The accredited provider must take responsibility for a CME activity when it is presented in cooperation with a nonaccredited organization and must use the appropriate accreditation statement.
The accredited provider must inform the learner of the joint sponsorship relationship through the use of the appropriate accreditation statement. All printed materials for jointly sponsored activities must carry the appropriate accreditation statement.
“This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of (name of accredited provider) and (name of non-accredited provider). The (name of accredited provider) is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.” — ACCME Accreditation Statement Policy
The ACCME maintains no policy that requires or precludes accredited providers from charging a joint sponsorship fee.
Compliance and Noncompliance Issues
The ACCME expects all CME activities to be in compliance with the accreditation requirements. In cases of joint sponsorship, it is the ACCME accredited provider’s responsibility to be able to demonstrate through written documentation this compliance to the ACCME. Materials submitted that demonstrate compliance may be from either the ACCME accredited provider’s files or those of the nonaccredited provider.
Note that if a jointly sponsored activity is found to be in Noncompliance with ACCME’s content validation policies or policies for disclosure and commercial support, the accredited provider in the relationship may be asked to provide one or more monitoring progress reports related to the issue. Similarly, special requirements exist for accredited providers that jointly sponsor activities with nonaccredited organizations that have a history of joint-sponsoring activities that do not comply with ACCME’s content validation policies or policies for disclosure and commercial support. See Maintaining Compliance: ACCME Monitoring for additional information.
Providers on Probation
If a provider is placed on Probation, it may not jointly sponsor CME activities with nonaccredited providers, with the exception of those activities that were contracted prior to the Probation decision. A provider that is placed on Probation must inform the ACCME of all existing joint sponsorship relationships, and must notify its current contracted joint sponsors of its probationary status.
The ACCME allows accredited providers and nonaccredited organizations (that are not ACCME-defined commercial interests) to collaborate in the planning and implementation of CME activities through joint sponsorship. In joint sponsorship, either the accredited provider or its nonaccredited joint sponsor can control the identification of CME needs, the determination of educational objectives, the selection and presentation of content, the selection of all persons and organizations that will be in a position to control CME content, the selection of educational methods, and the evaluation of the activity.
As stated in Standard for Commercial Support 1.2, a commercial interest cannot take the role of a nonaccredited entity in a joint sponsorship relationship. To assist accredited providers in determining whether a nonaccredited entity is a commercial interest, and therefore precluded from participating in a joint sponsorship relationship, the ACCME has provided a set of six self-assessment questions and guidance. The August 2009 letter containing those questions can be found by clicking here (the questions are on page 2 of the letter). If an organization answers "yes" to any of these questions, then the organization may be an ACCME-defined commercial interest and more information is needed before that determination can be made. Nonaccredited entities may also come to the ACCME for an ACCME-conducted review. The fee for such a review of a non-accredited entity is $4,000. An organization interested in pursuing this option may contact the ACCME directly.