By Steven M. Passin, president & CEO of Steve Passin & Associates
On December 14, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education released the final version of the new criteria for accreditation that will eventually replace the old Engagement with the Environment Criteria 16-22. A set of the new advanced criteria was released for comment in 2014; however, the new ACCME president and CEO, Graham McMahon, MD, has since reviewed and modified those criteria. Per its policy, the ACCME will now give stakeholders in the CME community a brief period of time to comment on this new release (comments may be provided to the ACCME up through February 16, 2016, by clicking on this link). Formal and final issuance is expected on or around the time of the ACCME board meeting in July 2016. Given the initial positive response and the incorporation of stakeholder comments in the revised criteria, it is likely that the revisions will stand as they currently exist.
This current revision of the criteria is actually quite similar to the original release. The criteria are now reorganized into five buckets. Those buckets, or groupings, of the new criteria are as follows:
- Inclusive Teaching and Learning
- Addressing Public Health Priorities
- Creating Behavioral Change
- Demonstrating Leadership
- Achieving Outcomes
It should be noted that at this time these criteria are not applicable to CE providers accredited under the aegis of the Joint Accreditation Task Force.
Menu of Choices
Importantly, the long-promised menu of choices has finally been revealed. This means that providers that wish to demonstrate the advanced commendation criteria will now have a choice as to which of the 15 new criteria they implement. Thus, providers will choose from among the 15 advanced criteria from those that fit naturally within the environment of their unique organization. Providers must select eight of the 15 criteria, and among those eight at least one must be from each of the five buckets listed above. The remaining three choices may come from any of the groupings.
Once the final publication of the new criteria is released in the summer of 2016, the ACCME will allow an adequate transition period—probably one year—in which providers will begin to implement them and transition from the old “Engagement” criteria to the new criteria. Providers whose self-studies occur during that transition will have the choice of keeping the old criteria or move to the new criteria, but not a mix of the two.
More Specificity and a Standard for Compliance
With the release of these new criteria, the ACCME has provided better definitions and interpretation of each criterion and an outline of the standard by which a provider can determine what will constitute compliance. These criteria will be judged to be in compliance based on two factors:
1. Frequency, as defined by the percent of activities that must demonstrate compliance
2. Substantive manifestation of the criterion
Here is an analysis of each new criterion, the “critical elements” that comprise the criterion, and the ACCME’s standard for compliance, with additional interpretation and analysis.