Initial Accreditation Pre-Application and Self-Study
Launching a new application to become an accredited provider of continuing medical education may seem simple—until you get into the details. The language of the ACCME is esoteric and you only have one chance to get it right. Passin Associates takes you through the process step-by-step—from the application for the pre-application to the pre-application to the self-study for initial accreditation to the preparation of your performance-in-practice documentation of compliance with the Criteria for Accreditation. At the same time, our experts teach your staff about the meaning of the ACCME Criteria for Accreditation and the Standards for Integrity and Independence, provide templates for the key policies and procedures you need to be successful as a provider of CME, train your team and leadership, and ensure that you are successful on your first attempt to become accredited. Afterall, accreditation is more than just a service for your learners; it’s a critical part of your overall mission.
More than 90% of Passin Associates’ clients that are eligible for a six-year accreditation achieve that goal: Accreditation with Commendation. Yes, it’s an honor to be the crème de la crème of CME organizations, but it also has an impact on your learners and enhances your potential for commercial support. The 15 performance-in-practice files that are reviewed by the ACCME must contain evidence of your organization’s compliance with ACCME Criteria. Your self-study can be perfect, but if the documentation doesn’t bear-out the narrative of your self-study, accreditation or accreditation with commendation will be outside your reach. 50% of reaccreditations result in a progress report or worse yet probation. Don’t take a chance. Work with the most experienced CME consultants in the nation to ensure your result!
All it takes is a finding of noncompliance in one or two criteria to receive a progress report. Just when you thought you could return to normal work, now you have a progress report to deal with over much of a year, not to mention the added fees associated with a progress report. Progress Reports that do not demonstrate compliance will result in either a 2nd progress report or a finding of probation—just one step away from losing your accreditation. Most progress reports results from noncompliance with the Standards for Integrity and Independence. While no provider intends to be noncompliant, often this occurs because you have not understood the rules or not kept up with changes announced by the ACCME. Passin Associates gets to the root cause of the problem, finds permanent fixes for those problems, trains your staff to be compliant going forward, and assists with the preparation and submission of both Parts 1 and 2 of the Progress Report. Our clients have a 100% track record of going from progress report to compliance and resumption of normal accredited functions.
A finding of Probation is serious. This is your last chance before losing your accreditation. Importantly, joint providership is no longer permitted when an organization is on probation, which may mean a significant loss of revenue during this time. Passin Associates team leaves no stone unturned to respond to a finding of probation and bring the organization back to full accreditation status. Many of our clients that contact us for the first time during a period of probation end up the next time around with Accreditation with Commendation. This is a stressful time for a CME Provider; don’t waste a moment if you’re placed on probation: contact Passin Associates immediately!
Key CME Policies and Procedures
CME policies and procedures are more than words on paper. They serve to codify the processes and standards by which you manage a CME Program. They ensure that ACCME and AMA PRA requirements are translated into daily processes. They serve to maintain consistency between directors and changes in organizational leadership. They provide stakeholders with clear guidance for all matters related to planning and executing CME activities. Passin Associates provides its clients with tried-and-true policies and practices, which in turn are tailored to each organization’s unique needs.
New Criteria Strategies and In-Service Support
When the ACCME changes major areas of its Criteria for Accreditation, or promulgates new criteria for advanced practices, or modifies its policies—which is a frequent occurrence—Passin Associates expert team of professionals provides analysis, direction, examples and training to help youir team cope with change. Understanding the intent of the ACCME is a specialized function of Passin Associates, resulting from more than 24 years of experience with the ACCME. No resource provides better support when change occurs. In-service support can be in-person and intensive, or sporadic and intermittent through web-based webinars. All Passin Associates’ in-service training is tailored to each client and to the audience(s) at the client and their unique needs.
Ongoing Support for Maintenance of Evidence of Compliance
ACCME’s simplification process has resulted in a new and more efficient Documentation Abstract System for the provision of evidence of compliance to the ACCME. Passin Associates has systems to make this process easy and fully compliant. With simpler self-study chapters with less attachments, the provision of fully compliant performance-in-practice abstracts counts for more than 30% of the final decision on accreditation status. Passin Associates works with its clients both virtually and in-person to ensure that abstract submissions are successful.
Updates on changes to ACCME and AMA PRA rules
Passin Associates knows about changes to ACCME rules either before they are released through intelligence it receives, or immediately upon release of changes. Our team follows all ACCME news every day and usually provides advice and strategies to address changes on the day they’re released. Look to Passin Associates for ongoing support in the management of your CME Program.
Whether you’re an initial applicant or going through reaccreditation, being prepared for the Accreditation Interview is a critical process and one that most of our clients tell us is “the most important step in the self-study process.” Because staff directors change and leadership always changes, rehearsing how to respond to detailed question about the self-study report is a process that gives your team confidence, and the expertise it needs to respond to whatever questions the survey team may ask. In addition, this rehearsal serves to prepare youir team for group responses, smooth transition, how to handle unexpected questions . . . and more. Passin Associates conducts five hour mock surveys onsite at your location or at another location of your choice. A written report summarizing the results of the mock survey is provided in a timely manner and debriefings occur to master areas requiring correction and further preparation.
Accreditation Interview Support
During the Accreditation Interview, the CME provider’s attention must be on the substance of the interview without worrying about the logistics of the session. Passin Associates is onsite with you to ensure a smooth interview. Issues that arise during the interview are quickly resolved with the confidence that this support brings.
CME Committee/Advisory Board Support
Passin Associates frequently is invited to present at Committee or Board meetings, assist with the meeting agenda, prepare support materials for the meetings, and to provide training for Committee/Board leadership to ensure they are effective in their roles. For initial applicants, Passin Associates is often instrumental in analyzing the strategies for the formation of the Committee or Board.
PARS Database Entry Support
ACCME’s Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) is the methods a CME provider uses to record data about every CME activity certified for CME. Its many data fields are often daunting for the organization. Passin Associates professional staff can orient new providers to PARS as well and the annual summary report due each March. Additionally, PARS is the source for ACCME staff to choose the 15 activities it will review for performance-in-practice. During self-studies, Passin Associates reviews PARS entries to ensure they are accurately representing the client’s CME Program and that there have been no unintended mistakes in entering data.
Strategic Planning for Automated CME Program Systems
Many CME providers are turning to automated back office systems to eliminate clerical functions relating to CME Programs—ensuring that staff resources are focused on the planning and execution of CME activities. The choice of which system to purchase or contract and the requirements of each client’s unique system requires strategic planning and clear direction. Passin Associates can support the preparation for the acquisition of automated support systems for CME Programs.
Long Range Strategic Planning
Passin Associates professionals have significant experience in facilitating long range strategic planning. Whether it’s an annual planning session or one that is proceeding a major organizational change, Passin Associates staff can support the identification of key areas for strategic planning, prepare briefing papers in support of each topic, facilitate the discussion at the session, and support the integration of strategic planning outcomes into the CME Program.