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January 14, 2016

ACCME Proposes New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has opened a public comment period for their recent proposal for a menu of new criteria for Accreditation with Commendation. This comment period is open until February 16, 2016 at 5:00 pm CT.

ACCME Accreditation Criteria are divided into three different levels, with the highest Accreditation being Accreditation with Commendation. Accreditation with Commendation is for a six-year term, and providers must comply with all twenty-two current Accreditation Criteria, found here.

Proposal for a Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation

In 2014, the ACCME circulated a draft proposal for feedback from education professionals on how to improve CME's role in the changing healthcare environment and leverage the power of education to improve healthcare. This current proposal soliciting comments includes much of the feedback received from the 2014 draft proposal.

The goal of the proposed criteria is to encourage, and reward, accredited CME providers for implementing best practices in pedagogy, engagement, evaluation, and change management, with a focus on generating meaningful outcomes. ACCME hopes that the proposed commendation criteria will serve as a guidepost for the future of CME.

The proposed criteria are grouped into five separate categories: inclusive teaching and learning, addressing public health priorities, creating behavioral change, demonstrating leadership, and achieving outcomes.

Some of the proposed criterion include:

  • Engaging patient/public representatives in the planning and delivery of CME;
  • Engaging health professions' students in the planning and delivery of CME;
  • Creating individualized learning plans for learners;
  • Creating collaborations with other healthcare organizations to more fully achieve healthcare goals;
  • Demonstrating the impact of the CME program on the performance of individual health professionals;
  • Demonstrating the impact of the CME program on the health of patients/communities.

In the future, in order to be eligible to achieve Accreditation with Commendation, a CME provider will need to demonstrate compliance with Accreditation Criteria 1-13 in addition to at least eight of the commendation criteria (C23-C38), with at least one commendation criteria (C23-C38) from each of the five categories.

Building on Success and Engagement

The current criteria for Accreditation with Commendation was implemented in 2008 and were designed to put the CME community in a strategic position to further the quality improvement and safety imperatives of the United States healthcare system. Currently, approximately 50% of providers successfully achieve commendation status, demonstrating that they integrate CME into the process for improving professional practice and act as strategic partners in quality initiatives through collaborative alliances.

If you are interested in providing feedback about the menu structure and each of the proposed criteria, you can access the comment survey here. ACCME invites feedback on the clarity of individual criterion, and any edits, comments, or suggestions you may have.

What's Next?

The ACCME Board of Directors will review the comments received at its March 2016 meeting and will determine whether any modifications to the criteria are necessary.

The current commendation Criteria 16-22 remain in place and all accredited CME providers should continue to comply with them, as well as Criteria 1-13, in order to achieve Accreditation with Commendation status.

Once the Board of Directors finalizes the criteria, the ACCME will release a transition plan for the CME community, with the new criteria implemented for ACCME-accredited and state-accredited providers. ACCME plans on having an extended transition phase, when accredited providers will have the option to demonstrate compliance with either the current or the new commendation criteria.

One the new criteria is implemented, the ACCME will provide ongoing education and training opportunities for Recognized Accreditors, accredited CME providers, volunteers, and other stakeholders to support the CME community's successful and smooth adoption of the new criteria.

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