TMA Accreditation Connection: April 2012



This is the inaugural edition of the electronic newsletter, TMA Accreditation Connection, designed for representatives of organizations the Texas Medical Association accredits as continuing medical education (CME) providers. You will receive it in April, August, and November after each of the meetings of the TMA Committee on Continuing Education and its Subcommittee on Accreditation. The content will include policy changes, updates in accreditation and American Medical Association Physician Recognition Award (AMA PRA) credit, accreditation tips, provider highlights, upcoming events, and links to CME resources. For questions about the newsletter, email Billie Dalrymple, or call her at (800) 880-1300, ext. 1446, or (512) 370-1446.

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 Recent Policy Changes and Updates 

Monitoring for Continued Compliance 

As an accreditor, TMA is responsible for monitoring compliance in accreditation standards and policies for all its providers in the accreditation process and during the time between reviews. TMA reminds all providers of the following policies already in place to monitor compliance and published in the TMA Accreditation Manual.

  1. Progress Reportsfor providers out of compliance with any TMA CME Policy or Criteria 1-15. (p. 10).
  2. Early Survey or Special Report, p. 14. TMA may reevaluate an organization sooner than the specified resurvey period if TMA receives information from the organization itself, or from other sources, that indicates it has undergone substantial changes and/or may no longer comply with the Essential Areas.
  3. General Program Updates, p. 32. Accredited providers must inform the TMA CME office when there are changes in staff or CME committee chair; turnover in the provider’s ownership, chief executive officer, or other administrator responsible for CME; substantial change in organization’s mission; a decision to begin joint sponsorship; or a decision to develop enduring materials.
  4. Procedures for Handling Complaints on Accredited Providers, p. 38. TMA has policies for considering legitimate complaints from any source regarding CME standards and compliance.
    Annual Report, p. 44. Each year in March, providers must submit data on the number of activities, number of participants, types of activities, and financial information for the previous year.

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 New: In addition to the above policies, the Committee on Continuing Education approved a recommendation for a random audit of providers on specific compliance issues when warranted. Examples: Disclosure of planners or developing CME in the context of desirable physician attributes.

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 Monitoring in RSSs (p. 43 of TMA Accreditation Manual)
TMA rescinded the policy that calls for providers to describe and verify a system to monitor compliance with TMA Essential Areas and Elements in Regularly Scheduled Series. This policy specified a mechanism for providers to evaluate their RSSs in the context of multiple sessions within one activity, e.g., 12 sessions of a Tumor Board. TMA adopted the policy before the 2006 ACCME/TMA Accreditation Criteria, which require the same type of evaluation in Criteria 11-15, activity and program evaluation.

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 Disclosure: Most Common Noncompliance Finding in Accreditation
Since TMA began making accreditation decisions under the 2006 ACCME/TMA Accreditation Criteria in 2009, the most common noncompliance finding has been in Criterion 7, SCS 2, and SCS 6. This criterion was not really new in 2006, but has been in place since the last iteration of the Standards for Commercial Support in 2004. The issue is that many providers are not getting disclosure from planners who control content in CME activities. Or, if they are collecting disclosure information from planners, they are not giving it to the learners. If members of the CME Committee in your organization initiate and/or approve CME activities, they can control content and should provide disclosure information about relationships with commercial interests relevant to their role in planning or presenting the CME. This requirement for disclosure by planners and speakers is always relevant, regardless of whether they have secured commercial support for the activity.

The three steps in disclosure follow.

  1. Secure disclosure information from planners and speakers;
  2. If anyone discloses a relationship, you as the provider must take further action to determine if the relationship poses a conflict of interest and document in the planning process how the conflict was resolved; and
  3. Disclose to the learners the result of collected disclosures, or state that there is nothing to disclose.

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 Accreditation With Commendation
As of January 2012, TMA conducted 53 surveys using the 2006 ACCME/TMA Accreditation Criteria. Of the 53 organizations reviewed, 14 (26 percent) earned Accreditation with Commendation. At its meeting in January, the Committee on Continuing Education awarded Accreditation with Commendation to BorderRAC, El Paso; Citizens Medical Center, Victoria; and Valley Baptist Medical Center, Harlingen. Congratulations to these organizations!

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 PARS Is Coming!
TMA has elected to take advantage of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education's (ACCME) online Program & Activity Reporting System (PARS). PARS is a centralized location for collecting and managing activity and program data from accredited CME providers. PARS also is the system of record for provider contact information published at PARS will replace the current SMS On-line System in which you have been entering your organization’s annual report data, and also will serve as the activity list from which activities will be selected for performance in practice review when your organization is up for reaccreditation.

TMA-accredited providers will soon receive an email with more information about PARS and the educational opportunities available for learning how to use the system. Following are important dates:

  • April 2: The SMS On-line System closed to TMA-accredited providers (your 2011 annual report data was due on March 30).
  • April 5: E-mail from TMA with details about PARS and training opportunities.
  • April 16: Last date for TMA administrator to make changes to the 2011 annual report data on your behalf.
  • April 26: TMA administrator must verify that primary contact information for TMA-accredited providers is correct. Please submit your Primary Contacts Form to TMA's CME office if you have not already done so.
  • April 27: PARS will be open to TMA-accredited providers at

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 Have You Implemented the New AMA PRA Guidelines?
As an organization accredited by TMA, you have the privilege of awarding AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™ to physicians who attend your CME activities. AMA published changes to the AMA PRA effective July 1, 2011. You can access all the changes in the AMA PRA Booklet, but the changes most relevant to TMA providers are:

  • Enduring materials must include an assessment of the learner’s performance; credit may only be awarded to participants that meet a minimum performance level (p. 5).
  • A physician must begin a Performance Improvement CME (PI CME) activity with Stage A (p. 6).
  • The AMA Credit Designation Statement was modified to indicate the learning format for the activity (p. 7). This applies to all of us!

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 2012 Texas CME Conference
TMA and the Texas Alliance for CME invite you to the 2012 Texas CME Conference June 13-15 at the Westin Austin at the Domain. The conference focus is the Value of CME for physicians, organizations, and the public. You’ll learn strategies to improve the image of CME within your organization, how to use performance improvement tools to develop CME, and how to plan evaluation of activities to demonstrate outcomes. Other sessions cover the basics of CME, PARS training, e-learning in CME, and best practices in disclosure, managing RSSs, and achieving accreditation with commendation. Registration is now open. See you in Austin in June!

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