During a Q&A session after the formal webinar, several people called in with questions about the proposed changes. Among them:

• Has ACCME discussed the proposed changes with other accreditors, such as the American Nurses Credentialing Center and the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education? What about CME provider organizations such as the Alliance for Continuing Education in the Health Professions?

Kopelow said, “Our partners in nursing and pharmacy have been working with us continuously through our revolution, our evolution, and in our changes … anything that we do we have to do in step with our colleagues.” ACCME did not, however, specifically reach out to ACEHP, the Society for Academic CME, or the National Association of Medical Education Companies, though “we will certainly now work with the organizations that represent providers and with providers directly,” he said.

• What’s the timeline for implementation?

The informal call for comment period is open until July 2 (here’s a https://accme.wufoo.com/forms/accme-simplification-and-evolution/survey link to the survey), and the ACCME board of directors will discuss the feedback at its meeting July 11-12. If the board decides not to make a decision at that time, the board likely will pick it up at its fall meeting. Once the board makes a decision, it goes to the ACCME’s member organizations for review and it goes out for a formal call-for-comment period of 45 days. The earliest providers can expect to implement the changes would be in April 2014, said Kopelow.

• One of the proposed changes involves a removal of the monitoring system for regularly scheduled series. Is it being replaced with something else?

“We’re replacing it with the rest of the criteria,” said Kopelow. There will no longer be separate rules for RSS. “We haven’t diminished the expectation,” he said. “It’s just that we’ve removed it from self- distinguishing it from every other kind of activity.”

• For meetings with a large number of speakers, do you have to provide a professional practice gap for each presenter, or can you just provide an umbrella professional practice for the seminar as a whole?

“Having a professional practice gap for every lecture might be appropriate if every lecture is unrelated to the lecture before,” Kopelow said. However, having one identified gap might be sufficient as long as each lecture focuses on the same gap, even though each lecture might be addressing different aspects.

• Can the period of receiving accreditation with commendation be lengthened beyond the current six-year term?

“Like for life, you mean?” asked Kopelow. “Well, the way that conversation usually goes is continuous accreditation where you have accreditation and it’s yours to lose.” However, he pointed out that the idea of a longer accreditation with commendation term is a good suggestion to bring up to the board.

• How do you envision strengthening the position of CME programs by further engaging organizational leadership?

Kopelow pointed to several initiatives the ACCME is already undertaking to engage institutional leadership in involving CME at a national level to improve health, including working with the American Hospital Association to bring their leadership into conversations on how to use CME in their organizations. ACCME also was invited to a meeting with the National Human Genome Research Institute to co-present about the role of medical education in increasing physician literacy about the use of genomics science. While it hasn’t yet been addressed by ACCME, one suggestion that has been raised was that “the ACCME … make a rule that says, ‘Your CEO needs to be out serving or there needs to be a demonstration from your board of directors of your organization that they are involved and committed,’" said Kopelow.

• Is there some way to encourage further education within the CME community as part of the accreditation criteria—perhaps as a criteria for accreditation with commendation?

“It could be a position that we take,” Kopelow said, that “a commitment to the professional development of the people in CME is a manifestation of organizational commitment. … It’s an area we haven’t addressed yet.” It is, however, something that the ACCME board finds very important, he added.

• On the CME LinkedIn group, there was a question about the change to not allow corporate logos, as a form of corporate branding, to be used in educational materials, disclosure, and acknowledgment of commercial support. Could providers still use logos on acknowledging exhibitors and supporters in the expo hall?

Kopelow answered, "Nothing in the exhibit hall can be, or is, part of the program of accredited CME. No sign in the exhibit hall fulfills any ACCME CME requirement. Nothing in the exhibit hall is overseen by the ACCME. As a result, no sign in the exhibit hall would ever be reviewed for compliance with the ACCME’s requirements nor be allowed to fulfill an ACCME requirement. Signs in an exhibit hall announcing, or reporting, commercial support is not an ACCME-required acknowledgement of commercial support.”