By Steven M. Passin, FACEHP, CCMEP; Susan C. O’Brien, CCMEP; Judy M. Sweetnam, M.Ed., CCMEP; and Denise J. Doyle, CCMEP

The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education recently released its long-awaited Accreditation with Commendation advanced criteria that are designed to eventually replace the Engagement with the Environment Criteria. Called the “Beyond Engagement” criteria, they are bold and innovative, challenging providers to truly plan and execute CME that changes behaviors and improves the quality of healthcare and patient safety.

While the new criteria are well conceived and appear to be ready for prime time, the ACCME is seeking comments from stakeholders in the CME community through a number of forums over the next several months. After the ACCME reviews the feedback, it will finalize the new criteria. In the interim, the existing Engagement with the Environment criteria (16-22) will remain in place and it is anticipated they will coexist with the new criteria (23-37) for a period of time to allow providers to transition.

Exploring the New Criteria

To allow for inherent differences among the various types of CME providers, the ACCME is proposing a menu-driven process from which providers will choose the criteria that are relevant to their organizations. The number of criteria to be selected and addressed in the menu has not yet been determined.

The 15 new criteria are organized into four categories: Creation of CME, CME activities, the program, and outcomes.