Life Science Compliance Update

October 12, 2017

AMA/ACCME Alignment Implementation Now Live

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The American Medical Association (AMA) and the ACCME are working together to develop a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ), instructions for designating credit, and other resources that will be available by the end of September. These resources will support CME providers’ implementation of the simplification and alignment of the requirements for accredited CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. The resources are posted here.

As previously announced, the simplification is reflective of the AMA and ACCME’s shared values and is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility in accredited CME while continuing to ensure that certified activities meet education standards and are independent of commercial influence. It is aimed at allowing accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to their learners and setting.

The Framework was implemented based on feedback from the community and a review of the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit requirements. The alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility, while ensuring that activities are independent and educationally appropriate. Accredited CME providers can introduce and blend new instructional practices and formats appropriate to their learners and setting, as long as they abide by the core requirements. CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories, without asking permission from the AMA. For these activities, providers can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis, using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity. The ACCME will modify the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) to enable providers to enter “other” as an activity type.

The core requirements for activities are:

  1. The CME activity must conform to the AMA/ACCME definition of CME.
    2. The CME activity must address an educational need (knowledge, competence or performance) that underlies the professional practice gaps of that activity’s learners.
    3. The CME activity must present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended physician learners.
    4. When appropriate to the activity and the learners, the accredited provider should communicate the identified educational purpose and/or objectives for the activity, and provide clear instructions on how to successfully complete the activity.
    5. The CME activity must utilize one or more learning methodologies appropriate to the activity’s educational purpose and/or objectives.
    6. The CME activity must provide an assessment of the learner that measures achievement of the educational purpose and/or objective of the activity.
    7. The CME activity must be planned and implemented in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities.

Some general tips are included below.

  • The simplification applies to all providers in the ACCME System, including state-accredited and ACCME-accredited-providers.
  • The AMA core requirements and ACCME accreditation requirements are aligned—and do not represent any new rules for accredited CME providers.
  • The AMA has simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers.
  • CME providers may design and deliver certified activities that use blended or new approaches to drive meaningful learning and change, as long as the provider abides by the AMA requirements.
  • CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories.

August 23, 2017

AMA and ACCME Announce Simplification of Credit and Accreditation Systems

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On August 1, 2017, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) announced that they have adopted a final proposal to simplify and align their expectations for accredited continuing medical education (CME) activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit.

The final proposal follows a call for comment on the proposed simplification in April 2017, when the vast majority of those who responded endorsed the proposal and agreed that it would give them sufficient opportunity to innovate and evolve their CME programs. The proposal was then adopted by both the AMA and the ACCME and the organizations are now working together to develop a list of frequently asked questions and other resources to assist members with implementation.

This simplification is expected to encourage both innovation and flexibility in CME while ensuring that activities meet education standards and are free from commercial influence. The simplification aims to permit accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to the learners and the setting – as long as they follow the AMA’s seven core requirements.

The core requirements are aligned with ACCME accreditation requirements—and do not represent any new rules for accredited providers. In addition, the AMA has simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers. To further encourage innovation in educational design and delivery, CME providers may design and deliver an activity that uses blended or new approaches to driving meaningful learning and change. For these activities, the provider can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity.

“The simplification and alignment will encourage innovation and experimentation in CME, so that educators are free to respond nimbly to their learners’ changing needs while staying true to core principles for educational excellence and independence. We celebrate this collaborative effort with our AMA colleagues and thank our community of accredited CME providers for their high level of engagement in this process. We look forward to our continued work together to drive quality in clinicians’ lifelong learning and improve care for the patients we all serve,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME.

“Recognizing the need to better align the AMA and ACCME’s requirements for CME accreditation and reaccreditation, we believe that our newly adopted proposal will support the evolution of CME to better meet the needs of educators, physicians, and the patients they serve,” said Susan Skochelak, MD, AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. “We look forward to continuing our work with ACCME on a more streamlined system that benefits providers and patients alike.”

In addition to collaborating on the simplification and alignment, the AMA and ACCME produced a shared glossary of terms and definitions to help clarify terminology for accredited CME providers and learners, developed as part of their alignment efforts and in response to requests from CME providers.

April 26, 2017

AMA and ACCME Announce Call for Comment on Proposal

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Yesterday, the American Medical Association (AMA) and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) issued a call for comment on their joint proposal to simplify and align their expectations for accredited continuing medical education (CME) activities that offer the AMA PRA Category One CreditTM. The proposal for alignment attempts to encourage innovation and flexibility in accredited CME, while continuing to ensure that activities meet educational standards and are independent of commercial influence.

The proposal is aimed at allowing accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to their learners and the setting, provided that they abide by the seven core requirements found within the proposal. Those seven core requirements are aligned with ACCME requirements and do not represent any new rules for accredited providers. Found in the proposal, the AMA simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers.

Under the proposal, CME providers may design and deliver an activity that uses blended or new approaches to driving meaningful learning and change. For these activities, the provider can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity.

Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO of ACCME, noted,

We celebrate this collaborative effort with our AMA colleagues and the opportunity to advance the evolution of CME. This proposal reflects the values of our CME providers and supports their aspirations to engage in education that makes a meaningful difference in clinician practice and patient care. We want to do everything we can to encourage innovation and experimentation in CME, so that educators are free to respond nimbly to their learners’ changing needs while staying true to core principles for educational excellence and independence. We thank accredited CME providers for their participation in this process and look forward to their feedback on our proposal and to our continued work together to drive quality in postgraduate medical education and improve care for the patients and communities we all serve.

Susan Skochelak, MD, AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education, was also pleased with the proposal, stating,

Based on the feedback we received from the CME community during listening sessions, we recognize the need to better align the AMA and ACCME’s requirements for CME accreditation and reaccreditation. We believe that our proposal will support the evolution of CME to better meet the needs of educators, physicians, and the patients they serve. We want to hear from the CME community to make sure the proposal addresses their feedback. We encourage CME providers to submit their comments to the proposal so we can continue to evolve to a more streamlined system that meets their needs. 

Following the call for comment period, the AMA and ACCME will analyze the feedback and determine whether to make modifications to the proposal and glossary. Once finalized, the resulting new process will be integrated into the existing accreditation and reaccreditation processes.

If any of our readers wish to comment on the proposal, you may do so here. Comments will be accepted through Thursday, May 25, 2017, at 5:00 pm CST. If you are unable to meet that deadline, but wish to provide constructive comments, email info@accme.org to request an extension.

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