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AMA and ACCME Announce Call for Comment on Proposal to Align Credit and Accreditation Systems

26 Apr 2017 1:19 PM | NAMEC Staff (Administrator)

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) are today opening a call for comment on their proposal to simplify and align their expectations for accredited continuing medical education (CME) activities that offer the AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Comments will be accepted through May 25, 2017, at 5 pm CDT.

Reflective of the AMA and ACCME’s shared values, the proposal for alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility in accredited CME while continuing to ensure that activities meet educational standards and are independent of commercial influence. The proposal is aimed at allowing accredited CME providers to introduce and blend new instructional practices and learning formats that are appropriate to their learners and setting, provided they abide by the seven core requirements described in the proposal. 

The core requirements outlined in the proposal are aligned with ACCME requirements—and do not represent any new rules for accredited providers. However, the AMA has simplified and reduced its learning format requirements to provide more flexibility for CME providers. To further encourage innovation in educational design and delivery, CME providers may design and deliver an activity that uses blended or new approaches to driving meaningful learning and change. For these activities, the provider can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity. Additional details about the “Proposed Simplification of Requirements for Accredited CME Activities Certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™” can be found below this news release. 

“We celebrate this collaborative effort with our AMA colleagues and the opportunity to advance the evolution of CME. This proposal reflects the values of our CME providers and supports their aspirations to engage in education that makes a meaningful difference in clinician practice and patient care. We want to do everything we can to encourage innovation and experimentation in CME, so that educators are free to respond nimbly to their learners’ changing needs while staying true to core principles for educational excellence and independence. We thank accredited CME providers for their participation in this process and look forward to their feedback on our proposal and to our continued work together to drive quality in postgraduate medical education and improve care for the patients and communities we all serve,” said Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, President and CEO, ACCME.

“Based on the feedback we received from the CME community during listening sessions, we recognize the need to better align the AMA and ACCME’s requirements for CME accreditation and reaccreditation,” said Susan Skochelak, M.D., AMA Group Vice President for Medical Education. “We believe that our proposal will support the evolution of CME to better meet the needs of educators, physicians, and the patients they serve. We want to hear from the CME community to make sure the proposal addresses their feedback. We encourage CME providers to submit their comments to the proposal so we can continue to evolve to a more streamlined system that meets their needs.”

In addition to collaborating on the proposal, the AMA and ACCME produced a shared glossary of terms and definitions to help clarify terminology for accredited CME providers and learners. Developed both as part of their alignment efforts and in response to requests from CME providers, the AMA is also seeking feedback on the glossary during the comment period.

Following the call for comment period, the AMA and ACCME will analyze the feedback and determine whether to make modifications to the proposal and glossary. Once finalized, the resulting new process will be integrated into the existing accreditation and reaccreditation processes.

The alignment proposal was developed by the Bridge Committee, which was formed by the AMA and ACCME to support their collaborative realignment efforts. The committee—made up of staff and volunteers from both organizations—serves in an advisory capacity on issues related to alignment and the evolution of the two complementary systems of credit and accreditation.


Based on feedback from the community and a comprehensive review of the AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM requirements, the American Medical Association (AMA) Council on Medical Education and Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME®) are proposing an alignment of their expectations for accredited CME activities certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Reflective of the AMA and ACCME’s shared values, the proposal for alignment is designed to encourage innovation and flexibility, while ensuring that activities are independent and educationally appropriate. Accredited CME providers can introduce and blend new instructional practices and formats appropriate to their learners and setting, as long as they abide by the core requirements. CME providers may designate an activity format as “other” if it does not fall into one of the established format categories, without asking permission from the AMA. For these activities, providers can designate credits on an hour-per-credit basis, using their best reasonable estimate of the time required to complete the activity. 

This proposal contains the following two elements:

A. Core requirements for activities
B. A limited number of format-specific requirements

A. Core Requirements for Activities

Please note: The core requirements are aligned with ACCME requirements and do not represent any new rules for accredited providers.

  1. The CME activity must conform to the AMA/ACCME definition of CME.
  2. The CME activity must address an educational need (knowledge, competence or performance) that underlies the professional practice gaps of that activity’s learners.
  3. The CME activity must present content appropriate in depth and scope for the intended physician learners.
  4. When appropriate to the activity and the learners, the accredited provider should communicate the identified educational purpose and/or objectives for the activity, and provide clear instructions on how to successfully complete the activity.
  5. The CME activity must utilize one or more learning methodologies appropriate to the activity’s educational purpose and/or objectives.
  6. The CME activity must provide an assessment of the learner that measures achievement of the educational purpose and/or objective of the activity.
  7. The CME activity must be planned and implemented in accordance with the ACCME Standards for Commercial Support: Standards to Ensure Independence in CME Activities.

B. If the learning modality is an enduring material, journal-based CME, or performance improvement CME, the accredited provider must ensure the following format-specific requirements are met: 

  1. Enduring materials will provide access to appropriate bibliographic sources to allow for further study.
  2. Journal-based CME will include one or more peer-reviewed articles.
  3. Performance improvement CME will:
  • have an oversight mechanism that assures content integrity of the selected performance measures. If appropriate, these measures should be evidence-based and well-designed.
  • provide clear instruction to the physician that defines the educational process of the activity (documentation, timeline).
  • provide adequate background information so that physicians can identify and understand the performance measures that will guide their activity and the evidence behind those measures (if applicable).
  • validate the depth of physician participation by a review of submitted PI CME activity documentation.
  • consist of the following three stages:
  • Stage A: learning from current practice performance assessment. Assess current practice using the identified performance measures, either through chart reviews or some other appropriate mechanism.
  • Stage B: learning from the application of PI to patient care.  Implement the intervention(s) based on the results of the analysis, using suitable tracking tools.  Participating physicians should receive guidance on appropriate parameters for applying the intervention(s).
  • Stage C: learning from the evaluation of the PI CME effort.  Reassess and reflect on performance in practice measured after the implementation of the intervention(s), by comparing to the original assessment and using the same performance measures. Summarize any practice, process and/or outcome changes that resulted from conducting the PI CME activity.

More Information

  • “Proposed Simplification of Requirements for Accredited CME Activities Certified for AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ is appended to this news release.
  • Respond to the call for comment here.
  • Download the shared glossary.
  • CME providers: please contact for more information. 

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