ACCME Announces Changes to PARS; Feedback Survey for New Criteria for “Accreditation with Commendation” Open Until July 11


The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has announced changes to the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS), which is now open for data entry for the 2015 reporting year. The deadline for completing data entry for the 2015 reporting year is not until March 31, 2016 but ACCME is making the announcement now in order to give stakeholders the time to prepare and familiarize themselves with recent changes to the system, described below. Separately, ACCME is accepting feedback on their recently announced Proposal for a Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendationthrough July 11.

Launched in 2010, PARS is a web-based portal designed to centralize and streamline the collection, management, and analysis of program and activity data from accredited CME providers. The structure of PARS and the CME community’s adoption of PARS enables the ACCME to produce annual report data that highlights a variety of information about CME nationwide. Click herefor our coverage of the 2012 CME release.

Changes to PARS

ACCME has been implementing improvements to the PARS requirements based on accredited providers and other stakeholders for the past four years. According to ACCME, the coming changes reflect this feedback:

“For the 2015 reporting year, we are eliminating some data requirements that have been difficult to standardize and have not been shown to add value. We are adding data fields and changing some of the optional fields to required fields in order to collect information that will increase the value of PARS for accredited providers and other stakeholders. This information will support alignment with stakeholders involved in physician continuing professional development, such as the credit, licensure, and certification systems. Your data aggregated and published in our annual reports will provide a more comprehensive picture of the size, scope, and accomplishments of the national CME enterprise.”

  • Changes to PARS

Providers are required to include the following data about each activity taking place in the 2015 reporting year. This data was previously optional:

  • Name of joint providers (formerly “joint sponsors”), if applicable
  • Number of designated AMA PRA Category 1 Credits™, if applicable
  • Competency(ies) the activity was designed to address. Providers select from a list of competencies including ACGME/ABMS, Institute of Medicine, Interprofessional Education Collaborative, and Other.
  • Name of commercial supporter(s), the monetary amount of support, and/or the type of in-kind support given by each supporter. PARS will continue to offer checkboxes for types of in-kind support. For “other in-kind support,” providers will no longer need to complete a description field. In addition, a new section will automatically summarize the commercial support information reported for all commercial supporters of the activity.

The following data will not be reported for individual CME activities:

  • Advertising and exhibit income. This information will be submitted only in aggregate in the Program Summary
  • “Income from other sources.” This information will be submitted only in aggregate, now in three specific categories, in the Program Summary.
    • Registration fees
    • Government grants
    • Private donations including grants from foundations
  • Expenses will no longer be collected in PARS, in response to feedback from providers and ACCME’s observations that the information was not always reported in a standardized, consistent manner across the accreditation system. PARS will continue to aggregate the total amount of monetary commercial support from the information submitted for each CME activity.

ACCME also made the following terminology and definition changes:

  • The term sponsorship has been changed to providership, and activities will be described as directly provided or jointly provided. This change reflects the terminology change included in the simplification of the ACCME requirements and process.
  • Nonphysicians are called other learners. This category includes activity participants other than MDs and DOs. Residents are no longer included in this category; beginning with the 2015 reporting year they are included as physician participants. The terminology change has been made in response to feedback from the CME community that other learners is a more appropriate term for describing the range of learners.
  • Residents are included in the category of physician participants. This category continues to include activity participants who are MDs or DOs.

Additional PARS Resources

Feedback Survey on Proposal for New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation Open until July 11

Separately from the PARS updates, the ACCME is seeking feedback about their Proposal for a Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation. They will accept responses through July 11, 2014.

The proposed criteria incorporate ideas gathered from the CME community and other stakeholders over the past few years, as well as feedback from the ACCME Board of Directors and member organizations. In response to this feedback, ACCME has created a menu of potential new commendation criteria that are designed to respond to the evolving healthcare environment and strengthen the role of CME as a strategic asset to healthcare improvement initiatives.

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