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Standards & Accreditation

Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

Essential areas for accreditation of sponsors of continuing medical education.

There are three parts to ACCME accreditation requirements:  ACCME Accreditation Criteria, the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education and the ACCME Policies.

The Standard provides a framework that promotes shared obligations among faculty, commercial supporters and the accredited provider, with ultimate responsibility resting with the accredited provider.

Planning an Activity

The department or group planning a CME activity must, from the onset, work with the OCME to be certain the procedures required for accreditation are followed. This includes providing documentation of needs assessment for the particular activity. We recommend that application for category 1 credit confirmation be submitted at least twelve (12) weeks prior to the date of the CME activity.

Determine the make up of the audience for which the activity is intended. Establish the educational objectives of the activity and write them out. Decide overall format and educational techniques to be used, based upon the stated objectives. This will help determine the kinds of facilities needed.

Make certain that the date you choose will be convenient for everyone involved in your activity in order that the date need not be changed once it has been established and advertised. Contact the OCME to ascertain that the date for which the activity is planned offers no conflict with other activities already announced or under development.

If Category I credit is sought through the Continuing Medical Education Office of the SUNY Downstate Medical Center, the correct accreditation statement must be printed on the brochure. Specific and precise wording in accordance with ACCME regulations is required and can be obtained from the OCME.

Preparation of your activity Brochure must follow specific guidelines in order meet the accrediting criteria. The following must be included:

  • Statement of Needs
  • Learning objectives
  • Target audience
  • Participant characteristics
  • ACCME Accreditation statement
  • Disclosure statement
  • American Disability Act (ADA) Statement
  • Commercial Support acknowledgment, if applicable
  • Course Outline or Schedule
  • Cost and location of activity

You must NOT use statements such as "CME credit has been applied for" in your brochure. Make sure you follow OCME Guidelines and allow sufficient time to receive approval prior to printing course material. If you wish to advertise this credit in your brochure, you must have approval in hand prior to ANY advertisement.

Send draft of completed activity syllabus, brochure and other required materials, to Continuing Medical Education Office for review and approval of credit hours, objectives, evaluation of forms, etc.

You will receive notification when the activity has been approved by letter indicating the number of credit hours for which the activity is certified.

A Participant Activity Evaluation Form is included in the application packet. You may adjust this form to suit your activity. CME CREDITS FOR A CME ACTIVITY WILL NOT BE AWARDED TO A PARTICIPANT IF THEY DO NOT SUBMIT A COMPLETED EVALUATION FORM. For ongoing activities, evaluations may be done on a quarterly basis rather than at every session.

Commercial Support

When a commercial contribution is made to support the development of a CME activity, either the OCME or the appropriate department or affiliate, represented by the CME Activity Director and acting under the auspices of the OCME, must assume total responsibility for the organization and quality of the activity including choice of speakers and curriculum content.

All monies from commercial companies used to support CME activities must be in the form of an educational grant, and should be paid and handled in accordance with institutional policies. All commercial contributions must be paid directly to either the OCME or the appropriate department, which is then responsible for payment of all honoraria and other CME expenses. Commercial support funds may not be used to pay any expenses of non-faculty participants.

The contribution(s) of commercial companies must be recognized within the printed syllabus or brochure, and verbally at the presentation, by a statement such as:

  • We wish to express our appreciation to the following companies (XYZ Pharmaceuticals ) for their help in defraying the cost of this activity.
  • This Symposium was supported by an education grant from RX Laboratories.

Commercial funding for the development or implementation of a CME activity must adhere strictly to the Guidelines set up by the ACCME (see the OCME CME Activity Development Guide which includes a copy of the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support). These include but are not limited to the following:

  • A signed commercial support agreement must be in place for each commercial company contributing to any approved CME activity
  • Commercial exhibits may not be in the same room or interfere with the educational activity
  • Commercial supporters will not bias the independence of the educational activity
  • Commercial Support will be acknowledged to participants
  • The sponsoring organization and the CME activity faculty will disclose significant relationships with companies whose products will be discussed
  • Social activities will be modest and will not take precedence over educational activities.

Infringement of any of the Guidelines For Commercial Support can result in removal of category 1 certification by the OCME.