ACCME Roundup January 2012, CME Providers Improving in Compliance


The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical education (ACCME) recently released the executive summary of its Board of Directors meeting, held December 1–2, 2011, at its Chicago offices. Several of the Board’s decisions are explained in more detail in the news items below.  One thing that stood in the ACCME charts is that CME providers have significantly improved compliance to ACCME standards and compliance in this most recent round of accreditation reviews. 

Accreditation and Recognition Decision Making 

During the meeting, the Board ratified 54 accreditation and reaccreditation decisions, including: 

  • 20 providers (37%) that received Accreditation with Commendation, which confers a 6-year term of accreditation.
  • Twenty-six (48%) received Accreditation: 17 of these providers (31%) are required to submit progress reports; 9 (17%) do not need to submit progress reports.
  • Two providers (4%) were placed on Probation and are required to submit progress reports.
  • Of the 6 initial applicants, 5 received Provisional Accreditation (9% of the total; 83% of initial applicants) and 1 received Nonaccreditation (2 % of the total; 17% of initial applicants) 

The ACCME has now completed accreditation reviews for 567 accredited providers using the 2006 Accreditation Criteria. The list of accredited providers will be updated on ACCME’s website on January 16 to reflect the December 2011 accreditation decisions. 

The Board ratified 45 progress report decisions. Of those, 42 (93%) progress reports demonstrated compliance with all ACCME requirements previously found not in compliance, and were accepted. Three progress reports (7%) failed to demonstrate compliance in all requirements, and were rejected. 

The ACCME made 6 recognition decisions based on the Markers of Equivalency. Six state medical societies received Recognition; 5 of these are required to submit progress reports. The ACCME accepted 3 recognition progress reports. Adopted by the ACCME in 2008 through a collaborative process with Recognized Accreditors, the Markers of Equivalency ensure that the standards for CME accreditation decision-making are consistent at the state and national levels. 

As of December 2011, there are 695 ACCME-accredited providers and 1,382 providers accredited by ACCME Recognized Accreditors (state or territory medical societies that accredit local organizations offering CME).  For more information about the ACCME accreditation decision-making process and compliance rates, see “The National Accreditation System,” one of the chapters in, The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education at Work: Accreditation, Recognition, Education, Operations, and Governance. 

FDA Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for Opioid Medications  

The Board discussed recent developments in the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for long-acting and extended-release opioid medications, including the draft “Blueprint for Prescriber Continuing Education Program” released by the FDA for comments to the Federal Register. The Board reviewed the comment regarding the blueprint that the ACCME submitted to the FDA following the meeting. 

The ACCME is continuing to work with accreditor colleagues, accredited providers, the FDA, and the Industry Working Group (IWG) to define the role and value of accredited CME in supporting the FDA REMS public health initiative. To further assist the process, the ACCME has explained how the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) can support the collection and analysis of data required by the FDA, such as the identification of REMS CME activities and information about prescriber participation. 

ACCME Fee Structure for Accredited Providers  

In 2013, the annual fee for ACCME-accredited providers will rise from $3,000 to $3,300. Beginning in 2014, the ACCME will assess a single, combined fee each year from ACCME-accredited providers that will replace the separate reaccreditation and annual fees. The 2014 ACCME-accredited provider combined annual fee will be $5,300. This amount is based on an annual fee of $3,300 and $8,000 reaccreditation fee (Currently, the reaccreditation fee is $7,500; the 2014 increase is the first one since 2010).

The fee for intrastate accredited providers is increasing from $250 to $450 in 2012, as part of the incremental fee increase previously approved by the Board. In 2013, the fee will increase to $550. Payments will be due January 31 of each year, beginning in 2014. 

The 2012 ACCME-Accredited Providers annual accreditation fee of $3,000 is due by January 31, 2012. 

ACCME 2012 Budget  

The Finance Committee conducted an in-depth review of the ACCME’s financial and operational strategies, including projected budgets through 2015. The Board’s goal is to take a prudent and conservative approach to financial management, while maintaining the quality of ACCME’s programs and services for accredited providers and Recognized Accreditors. The Board approved a budget with projected 2012 expenses of $4,950,512 and estimated revenues of $4,696,450. 

ACCME Bylaws  

In response to feedback from the ACCME’s member organizations, the Board revised some of the draft bylaws amendments and read the revisions into the minutes to begin the formal adoption process. At the March 2012 meeting, the Board plans to adopt the 24 amendments, and then send them to the member organizations for approval. According to the ACCME’s current bylaws, the member organizations will have 120 days to register their nonapproval of any of the amendments.

 April 2012 CME as a Bridge to Quality™ Accreditation Workshop 

Registration is now open for the ACCME’s 2012 CME as a Bridge to Quality Accreditation Workshop scheduled for April 18-20 in Chicago. A second workshop will be held August 15-17. ACCME will hold “Self-Study for Accreditation” sessions in conjunction with each workshop and will invite providers whose next accreditation decisions are scheduled for July 2013, November 2013, and March 2014.


ACCME-Accredited Providers: Prepare Now for March 30, 2012 Year-End Reporting Deadline 

To meet your year-end reporting deadline, ACCME-accredited providers must complete entering data into the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) for your 2011 activities and complete your 2011 program summary by March 30, 2012. PARS is always open and ACCME encourages providers to start entering 2011 activity data now in anticipation of the upcoming deadline. You are welcome to enter basic information about an activity before it has taken place and complete the entry after the activity occurs. (Please note that these instructions apply only to ACCME-accredited providers, not to providers accredited by a state medical society.).  ACCME has made various improvements to support your data entry, based on your feedback. Please review the list of improvements below, as they may affect your 2011 data submission. 

Coming Soon: ACCME’s New Web Site  

The ACCME is in the process of redesigning its Web site to offer a more user-friendly resource with improved navigation, organization, content, and design. The site restructuring incorporates feedback we received from users of our Web site and is part of our ongoing efforts to improve services for accredited providers, Recognized Accreditors, and other stakeholders. We plan to launch the new site in the coming weeks. 

For Your Reference 

“The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s Revised Reaccreditation Materials: Insights and Tips,” appeared in the December 2011 issue of the Almanac, published by The Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions. The article explains the ACCME’s reorganized and simplified reaccreditation materials, discusses revisions to the self-study report outline, and addresses frequently asked questions. The article was written by ACCME staff members Tamar Hosansky, Director of Communications; Dion Richetti, DC, Director of Accreditation and Recognition Services; and David Baldwin, MPA, Manager, Accreditation Services.


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