What is in this article?:
- Tips on Complying with the Updated Standards for Commercial Support
- What Else Needs to Be Disclosed
- Getting Buy-In from Committee Members
- Ensuring the Integrity of Education
- Professionalism and Ethics
- Guinea Pigs, Get Ready
- ACCME Pledges Help, Not Hassles
- Kopelow Takes Your Questions
- Faculty that Serve as Faculty and Do Promotional Programs
ACCME Pledges Help, Not Hassles
“You will get help from us — not aggravation and turmoil,” Murray Kopelow, MD, chief executive, Accreditation Council for CME, Chicago, promised during one of two-run mini-plenary sessions at the Alliance for CME annual conference. The ACCME has expended a great deal of effort in recent months to help providers understand what they need to do to comply with the updated Standards and to ease the pain of the transition. For instance, Kopelow said that providers from specialty societies, medical schools, and medical education and communication companies were invited to ACCME headquarters to discuss what they were doing already to prevent and detect bias, and what changes they might have to implement.
The ACCME received kudos for its initiative from a participant at the mini-plenary. Melinda Steele, MEd, CME director, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, Lubbock, Texas, was one of the providers who met with the ACCME. She said that her initial reaction to the updated Standards was that she would have to change everything she did, “but as the dialogue progressed, we realized we're already doing things to meet compliance. We would need to change the packaging and tweak policies and letters. I am pleased to say I'm now comfortable [with the updated Standards] and I want to plug the ACCME for being so receptive to these dialogues.”
In response to providers' requests, the ACCME released a tool kit (available at www.accme.org), which was distributed at the conference. Hoping to avoid a repeat of what happened at the AMA's CME Provider/Industry Collaboration conference this fall, where attendees were furious because the guidance materials accompanying the updated Standards seemed to be onerous requirements rather than recommendations, Kopelow emphasized that the ACCME's new tool kit provides examples and suggestions — not rigid rules — for compliance. In fact, he pointed out that on every page of the implementation tools section there is a disclaimer, stating that providers are not required or expected to use the information; the disclaimer also says that using the examples does not guarantee that providers will be found in compliance with the new Standards.
Kopelow also said that providers will be judged on their compliance with the updated Standards in increments. For instance, the first round of providers to fall under the new Standards, those up for reaccreditation in November 2006, will only have to document compliance with the new rules for the time period since they went into effect. “Even if you do it all wrong, all that will happen is you will be asked to do a progress report a year later that shows what you're doing to correct the problem,” he said. Providers won't be accountable for complying with the updated Standards for the full four-year reaccreditation period until 2010, and by that time they will have had ample opportunity to develop implementation strategies and to learn from their colleagues. “So you don't need to worry until 2010,” Kopelow concluded. “It's a lifetime away.”