The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education’s board of directors will discuss making changes to its process for handling complaints and inquiries about accredited providers at its meeting December 3-4. According to ’s chief executive, Murray Kopelow, MD, “the board is considering the full range of issues involved for both the accreditor and the CME provider” once a complaint has been filed that a provider is not in compliance with the ACCME’s 2006 Accreditation Criteria. This includes whether or not to make public certain information about activities and providers who have been found to be noncompliant. This information currently is released only to the complainant and the provider charged with noncompliance.
There are no indications, however, that the board is considering the possibility of making public information about those who are under investigation but have not yet been found noncompliant. While the policy’s wording doesn’t entirely exclude the possibility, its emphasis on the results of inquiries as a potential target for increased transparency—along with details about the complaint and names of all involved—implies that the ACCME board of directors is considering releasing information only after a complaint has been investigated and resolved.
The board also is discussing any potential actions it could require noncompliant providers to take. Kopelow was quoted in an article in The New York Times as specifying certain proposals the board would be deliberating, such as those raised in a complaint filed last year by Bernard Carroll, MD, past chairman of the department of psychiatry at Duke University Medical Center (also listed in this post on the Health Care Renewal blog). Kopelow told that specific proposals such as notifying learners of violations and providing corrective materials for an activity found to be noncompliant would be “subsumed in the more general discussion. The board will be discussing the whole concept.”
As a result of policy adopted by ACCME in 2009, CME providers and all other stakeholders could be able to voice their opinions of any potential policies that may result from the December ACCME board meeting. According to ACCME’s 2009 Rule Making Policy and Bylaws found on www.accme.org, after a 45-day review by ACCME’s member organizations, new policies around releasing information about those found to be in violation of the 2006 Accreditation Criteria could be put out for a call for comment at the request of the board of directors, as is now provided for when a new rule could “directly and materially impact the ability of accredited providers to conduct business.”
Kopelow says that the board is very aware of the seriousness of any actions it could take regarding transparency in the complaints and inquiries process, and that it will do its due diligence on the full range of issues. He also emphasizes that anyone who has questions or concerns should contact ACCME directly, either via e-mail at email@example.com, or by calling (312) 527-9200.