Proposal for New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation

We are pleased to open a call for public comment about our proposal for a menu of new criteria for Accreditation with Commendation, in accordance with our Rule-Making Policy. Comments will be accepted through February 16, 2016, at 5:00 pm Central. Please feel free to share this proposal with your colleagues and invite them to participate—we welcome ideas from all who are concerned about the future of CME and healthcare. Thank you for your participation and we look forward to our ongoing engagement.

Submit Your Comments

Proposal for a Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation: We suggest that you review this proposal, which includes the proposed new criteria, a Message from the CEO, and explanatory information, before completing the call for comment survey.

PDF of Call for Comment Survey: We prepared this PDF of the survey to enable you and your colleagues to review the questions and prepare your answers before accessing the online survey. Please note that we will only accept responses submitted via the online survey.

Call for Comment Survey: The survey gives you the opportunity to provide your feedback about the menu structure and about each of the proposed 16 criteria. There is an additional comment section at the end of the survey for you to provide more feedback.

Purpose of Proposed Criteria

The goal of the proposed new criteria is to encourage and reward accredited CME providers for implementing best practices in pedagogy, engagement, evaluation, and change management, and to focus on generating meaningful outcomes. The proposal reflects the recommendations we have gathered from a diverse range of stakeholders about how to advance CME’s role in the changing health environment and leverage the power of education to improve healthcare.

The proposed commendation criteria are designed to serve as a guidepost for the future of CME. We want to recognize the achievements of organizations that advance interprofessional collaborative practice, address public health priorities, create behavioral change, show leadership, leverage educational technology, and demonstrate the impact of education on healthcare professionals and patients.

Categories of Proposed Criteria

There are 16 proposed criteria, grouped into the following five categories:

  • Inclusive Teaching and Learning
  • Addressing Public Health Priorities
  • Creating Behavioral Change
  • Demonstrating Leadership
  • Achieving Outcomes

Menu Structure

The commendation criteria are structured as a menu that will give accredited CME providers the opportunity to choose the ones that are appropriate for their organization. The purpose of the menu structure is to promote best practices, reflect the diversity of the CME community, create flexibility, and offer a pathway for all CME provider types to achieve Accreditation with Commendation.

To be eligible to achieve Accreditation with Commendation, an accredited CME provider will need to demonstrate compliance with existing core Accreditation Criteria 1–13, and:

1. Demonstrate compliance with at least one criterion from each of the five categories
2. Demonstrate compliance with at least eight of the criteria

Supporting Information

Each criterion is accompanied by supporting information designed to assist CME providers in understanding and meeting the ACCME’s expectations:

  • The rationale for the criterion’s inclusion
  • The critical elements required to demonstrate compliance
  • The standard for measuring compliance

Building on Success and Engagement

Implemented in 2008, the current criteria for Accreditation with Commendation were designed to position the CME community as a strategic asset to the quality improvement and safety imperatives of the US healthcare system. Over the years, providers demonstrated an increasing ability to meet the expectations of the criteria. Currently, about 50% of providers successfully achieve commendation status, demonstrating—among other attributes—that they integrate CME into the process for improving professional practice and act as strategic partners in quality initiatives through collaborative alliances.

In response to this growing success, and as part of its strategic planning, the ACCME has engaged in ongoing dialogue with the CME and stakeholder communities to identify a greater range of commendable practices. This January 2016 proposal incorporates feedback to a draft proposal that was circulated in 2014—which received widespread support from the CME community, with about 75% of CME provider survey respondents, representing a range of organizational types and sizes, reporting that the proposed criteria would make Accreditation with Commendation feasible for them.

Important Points and Timeline

Call for Comment: The ACCME will accept comments through February 16, 2016, at 5:00 pm Central.

Board of Directors Review: The ACCME Board of Directors will review the comments at its March 2016 meeting and determine whether to make modifications to the criteria.

Current Criteria Remain in Place: The current commendation Criteria 16–22 remain in place and accredited CME providers should continue to comply with them, in addition to complying with existing core Accreditation Criteria 1–13, to achieve Accreditation with Commendation.

Transition Plan: Once the Board of Directors has finalized the criteria, the ACCME will release a transition plan for the CME community. The new criteria will be implemented for ACCME-accredited and state-accredited providers. (There is no change to requirements for Joint Accreditation for Interprofessional Continuing Education™.) There will be a an extended  transition phase, during which accredited providers will have the option of demonstrating compliance with the current or new commendation criteria. The transition phase will serve two purposes: it will ensure that CME providers that have been working to achieve or sustain commendation under the current criteria will continue to have that opportunity; and it will give providers time to prepare to meet the expectations of the new criteria. As always, compliance with the commendation criteria will be optional for CME providers and is not required to achieve Accreditation.

Achieving Accreditation with Commendation: Accredited providers will need to continue to demonstrate compliance with existing core Accreditation Criteria 1–13 to be eligible to achieve Accreditation with Commendation, in addition to meeting the expectations of the current or new commendation criteria.

Education and Resources: We will provide ongoing education and training for Recognized Accreditors, accredited CME providers, volunteers, and other stakeholders to support the CME community’s successful adoption of the new criteria.

For Updated Information: Visit this webpage for updated information and links to relevant materials.


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