The Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) has granted full accreditation of the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine (PLFSOM)’s Continuing Medical Education program—with commendation, the highest status awarded by the ACCME.
“We commend your organization for meeting the ACCME’s accreditation requirements and for demonstrating that yours is a learning organization and a change agent for the physicians and patients you serve,” wrote Graham McMahon, M.D., president and CEO of the ACCME’s Board of Directors.
In the U.S., medical practitioners are required to continue their education throughout their careers by earning continuing medical education (CME) credits. CME credit is earned by participating in educational activities, like conferences, symposiums, and hands-on training exercises, that help medical professionals hone their craft and keep abreast of developments in their specialty areas.
“The system of continuing medical education is evolving,” said Koko Aung, M.D., M.P.H., who oversees the PLFSOM’s CME Office at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso. “We are not only expected to continuously improve our CME programs, but also act as strategic partners in quality and safety initiatives within our institutions, health systems, and communities.”
Criteria for CME activities are established by the ACCME based on constantly evolving medical knowledge and standards of care. The committee also has established standards for ensuring independence from third-party industry influence on CME activities.
The ACCME’s application review can result in any of the following outcomes: withdrawal of accreditation, continuation of provisional accreditation, advancement to full accreditation with a few citations, advancement to full accreditation with no citations, and accreditation with commendation. To achieve accreditation with commendation for this application cycle, the PLFSOM needed to demonstrate compliance with criteria 16 through 22, in addition to required criteria 1 through 15.
The provider operates in a manner that integrates CME into the process for improving professional practice.
The provider utilizes non-education strategies to enhance change as an adjunct to its activities/educational interventions (e.g., reminders, patient feedback).
The provider identifies factors outside the provider’s control that impact on patient outcomes.
The provider implements educational strategies to remove, overcome or address barriers to physician change.
The provider builds bridges with other stakeholders through collaboration and cooperation.
The provider participates within an institutional or system framework for quality improvement.
The provider is positioned to influence the scope and content of activities/educational interventions.
The ACCME’s designation of accreditation with commendation reflects not only TTUHSC El Paso’s dedication to meeting compliance standards and policies, but also to continuous physician learning, quality improvement, and patient advocacy.
“Accreditation with commendation status assures the medical community and the public that the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine delivers education that is relevant to clinicians’ needs, is evidence-based, and is independent of commercial influence. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the CME team, planners, and partners to promoting health and wellness in our communities through improving competence and performance of physicians,” said Dr. Aung.
After TTUHSC El Paso separated from Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC) in 2013, the PLFSOM received initial ACCME accreditation in 2015. The status was provisional for the first two years—which is standard for all initial accreditations—with re-accreditation scheduled for 2017. The new accreditation period went into effect Aug. 1, 2017 and will continue through July 31, 2023.