In January 2019, the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) solicited feedback, in the form of a survey, from stakeholders, accredited continuing education (CE) providers, healthcare leaders, and government agencies regarding a review of the rules that protect the independence and integrity of accredited CE for healthcare professionals. Based on the feedback received, ACCME issued a draft set of Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education in January 2020 and released the final Standards in December 2020. The revised Standards will take effect on January 1, 2022, at which time all accredited providers will be expected to comply with the new or changed requirements, and can stop complying with those requirements that have been removed. ACCME will allow a one-year transition phase before measuring compliance with the revised Standards.
The Standards, which were first adopted in 1992 and later updated in 2004, reflect a dedication to quality education, and aim to remain relevant and effective in the healthcare environment. In light of the updates, ACCME has published a Standards Information Package, outlining key changes to the Standards including an extension of the disclosure period from 12 months to 24 months, removal of the requirement to disclose the financial relationships of spouses or partners, due to potential privacy challenges, and removal of a proposed requirement prohibiting joint providers from reimbursing expenses to faculty. In addition, with regard to accredited activities and marketing or nonaccredited activities held in the same educational space, the time interval is now defined as 30 minutes. The Standards Information Package also includes a "New Standards at a Glance" section that describes the differences between the revised and former Standards. In addition to the Standards Information Package, ACCME has also published a New Standards Standalone Package.
ACCME notes that "the goal of the revision process was to streamline, clarify, and modernize the Standards, and ensure their continued relevance and effectiveness in the changing healthcare environment."
To view a copy of the Guidelines, please visit the Industry Guidance section of the Transparency and Limitations Database.