Call for Comment Regarding Complaints and Inquiries Process: Providers' Responsibilities to Learners

Open for comment on : 
August 12, 2010
Closed on: 
September 27, 2010

The ACCME sought comment on a proposal regarding providers' responsibilities to learners when an activity is found in Noncompliance through the complaints process. This Call for Comment opened on August 12, 2010 and closed on September 27, 2010.

An audio commentary with ACCME Chief Executive, Murray Kopelow, MD, explaining the call for comment is available here.

A report including the responses as well as the ACCME's analysis of the responses is available here.

The full text of the Call for Comment was as follows:

Call for Comment -- Complaints Process: Providers' Responsibilities to Learners

The ACCME has a Process for Handling Complaints Regarding ACCME Accredited Providers. This is the process the ACCME uses to respond to complaints from the public and the continuing medical education (CME) community about ACCME accredited providers' compliance with accreditation requirements. A wide range of issues are addressed. Increasingly, the ACCME is being asked to investigate if the issues are about commercial bias and/or content validation.

The ACCME revised the complaints process in July 2010. The revised process balances transparency with providers' confidentiality, following a model similar to the ACCME's accreditation review procedures. The ACCME keeps confidential the identity of providers that have an activity found in Noncompliance through the complaints process. When the ACCME changes a providers' accreditation status as a result of the complaints process, the new status will be public information, but the ACCME will not disclose the reason for the change in status. The January 2010 call for comment about the revised process and the responses are posted on the ACCME Web site.

Under the current process, if the ACCME finds a provider in Noncompliance, the provider is responsible for demonstrating that it has rectified the issue through a Notice of Corrective Action and/or through a Monitoring Progress Report. This communication is between the ACCME and the provider, and is kept confidential by the ACCME.

As part of its ongoing commitment to accredited CME's accountability, and in response to feedback from stakeholders, the ACCME has deliberated about whether providers should also have obligations to learners if an activity is found Noncompliant. In considering the options, the ACCME seeks to balance transparency and accountability with providers' confidentiality, and to serve the best interests of the accredited CME system, physician learners and the public.

The ACCME is seeking comment from the public and the CME enterprise about the following policy:

“When the ACCME Complaints Process determines that an activity is found to be in Noncompliance with the ACCME Standard for Commercial Support 1 (Independence), Standard for Commercial Support 5 (Content and Format without Commercial Bias), or the Content Validation Value Statements, the accredited provider is required to provide corrective information to the learners, faculty and planners. The provider will submit to the ACCME a report describing the action that was taken and the information that was transmitted. Providers will determine how to communicate the corrective information and are under no obligation to communicate that the activity was found in Noncompliance with ACCME requirements.”

Audio Commentary