ACCME Update — Reporting System, Call for Comment and Provider Education

The Accreditation Council of Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) recently announced that it will be opening up its Program & Activity Reporting System (PARS) Exhibition/Education Phase in April. The program, a Web-based portal designed to streamline and support the collection of program and activity data from continuing medical education providers, is expected to run for four weeks.

According to the announcement, “the purpose of the exhibition/education phase is to afford accredited providers, if they choose to do so, the hands-on opportunity to try out the system before it is made available for actual data collection.” Through the exhibition/education, accredited providers can view instructional materials about how PARS works, enter test data (which will be deleted before the system goes live), and ask questions and provide feedback.

ACCME noted that the exhibition/education phase is optional, and that they will send all accredited providers an e-mail alert with instructions for receiving a login ID and password as soon as the phase is open. Instructions will also be posted on the PARS Information Page. The PARS is open only to ACCME-accredited providers.

Accordingly, the exhibition/education phase follows two pilot phases, during which groups of accredited providers volunteered to test the system. After input was gathered from their experiences, and feedback from other stakeholders, the ACCME made improvements to PARS, to ensure that it will be an efficient and valuable resource for the accredited CME system. After the exhibition/education phase, the ACCME will make any necessary additional adjustments before launching PARS.

Questions regarding the exhibition/education can be sent to

Call for Comment Updates

Also in their recent newsletter, ACCME gave an update on comments regarding three issues that were previously discussed from January 22 – March 8, 2010. These issues included:

  ACCME's Complaints and Inquiries Process,;

  Knowledge-Based CME Activities; and

  ACCME’s Recognition Process.

ACCME thanked those who submitted comments, and noted that they are currently reviewing and analyzing the responses. The Board of Directors expects to discuss the issues and responses at its next meeting, July 15 – 16, and noted that they will post the comments on ACCME’s Web site prior to the meeting.

Providers Restructure to Ensure Compliance with ACCME Independence Policies

In August 2007, the ACCME expanded its definition of commercial interest in order to further safeguard CME’s independence. Consequently, their recent newsletter provides an update and case examples to illustrate how its redefinition of commercial interest has been implemented.

Once the new definition was adopted, all accredited providers were expected to examine their organizational structure to ascertain whether they, their parent or their sister organizations (if such relationships exist within the structure) would meet the modified definition of commercial interests. If so, they needed to restructure to remain eligible to be accredited. The ACCME allowed those providers a two-year grace period, until August 2009, to alter their organizational structure and separate their CME program from the commercial interest.

The ACCME offered several alternatives for corporate restructuring that would meet its requirements and worked individually with accredited providers affected by the redefinition. In 2008 and 2009, the ACCME reviewed 30 accredited providers and found that 17 would be considered commercial interests under the expanded definition. Of those, 14 successfully restructured and retained their accreditation; three did not restructure and withdrew from accreditation. You can read more about the ACCME's process for implementing its redefinition of commercial interest, including a case example of a compliant corporate structure, as well as a description of noncompliant structures.

New Sessions Added to 2010 CME as a Bridge to Quality Accreditation Workshops

ACCME also announced that two new sessions have been added to the 2010 CME as a Bridge to Quality Accreditation Workshops. "Engagement with the Environment" is an advanced session focusing on ACCME Criteria 16 – 22, for providers seeking Accreditation with Commendation. "Next Steps for Organizations Seeking Accreditation" will help those preparing to apply for ACCME accreditation for the first time.

Designed for all levels, from CME novices to veterans, the Accreditation Workshops offer participants the opportunity to work closely with ACCME staff, national CME leaders and colleagues to learn practical strategies for complying with accreditation requirements and positioning CME as a Bridge to Quality within their organizations.

The Accreditation Workshops will be held three times in 2010: April 28 – 30, August 4 – 6, and December 8 –10, 2010, at the Westin Chicago River North. Registration is still open for the April workshop. Download the brochure and registration information.

2010 Regional Forums for State Accreditors and Providers: Building Leadership, Building Value

To support state accreditors and state-accredited providers, ACCME is holding four regional workshops across the country. The 2010 ACCME Regional Forums: Building Leadership, Building Value, will help participants develop strategic and tactical approaches for positioning their CME programs as valued assets in their health care organizations. The schedule for the forums is as follows:

· June 16 in New York, NY

· July 8 in Charlotte, NC

· August 31 in St. Louis, MO

· October 18 in Las Vegas, NV

Workshops are open to state accreditors, state-accredited providers and volunteers involved in the state accreditation system. For more information, download the 2010 Regional Forum Save the Date announcement or contact us at

In Case You Missed It

· The ACCME Report, February 25, 2010

· ”Sorry Works" — Risk Management CME: An Interview with Tim Holder, MD, Oklahoma State Medical Association

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