The American College of Surgeons (ACS) Division of Education provides Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit for more than 2,000 educational activities annually. Recognized as an Accredited Provider with Commendation through the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the ACS supports those who plan and achieve the highest level of compliance for each educational activity across a broad range of learning formats, including the following:
- Live meetings
- Live Internet courses
- Regularly scheduled series (RSS)
- “Other” nontraditional learning opportunities
CPDA Section-sponsored activities
The Division of Education’s Continuous Professional Development Accreditation (CPDA) Section is responsible for oversight of educational activities that the College offers (“Directly Sponsored”), as well as programs that external organizations offer through the PartnerCME Joint Providership Program (“JPP”).
Directly Sponsored activities are those programs that an ACS division develops and implements, such as the following:
- Surgical Education and Self-Assessment Program (SESAP®)
- Selected Readings in General Surgery (SRGS)
- Journal of the American College of Surgeons Online CME Program
- Clinical Congress 2019
- ACS chapters meetings
In addition, since 2001, the ACS Division of Education has provided CME Credit for the educational activities of more than 600 not-for-profit surgical and medical organizations (outside of the ACS) through our PartnerCME JPP. Partnering organizations represent a diverse array of specialties, including the American Surgical Association, Cancer Treatment Centers of America, American Association for the Surgery of Trauma, the Voice Foundation, and many others. A range of learning formats are used to deliver educational content to physicians and other health care professionals. In addition to live meetings, Internet-based education, and other innovative learning formats, the PartnerCME program recently expanded opportunities for accreditation to RSS.
The CPDA Section reviews, approves, and supports Directly Sponsored activities free of charge, and charges a nominal fee through PartnerCME to accredit educational activities for external medical and surgical organizations, academic medical centers, and hospital systems. The program’s pricing is competitive compared with other Accredited Providers, with lower rates and no additional fees per participant or for total credits claimed. For example, RSS, including Grand Rounds, Journal Clubs, and Tumor Boards, can be offered quarterly for $1,500 per year, monthly for $2,000 per year, or weekly for $3,000 per year. In addition to the ACS offering competitive pricing compared with other Accredited Providers, partnering with the ACS provides several other benefits for both the organization developing and offering the educational activity, as well as for learners.
Online portal for the accreditation process
The CPDA Section offers guidance for each step in the accreditation process. To better support partnering organizations with compliant, quality educational programs, a fully web-based portal for the CME process will launch this year. The portal has been developed to ensure compliance with ACCME, American Medical Association, and ACS requirements, while offering guidance, ease, and convenience for the user. It will streamline the accreditation process by providing a systematic, step-by-step process for submission of the required components, prompt review and meaningful feedback, and real-time status updates for each CME file. In addition to lightening the administrative burden for all, the system will capture evaluative data on an individual and aggregate level, which can help inform future educational programming for the ACS and PartnerCME activities.
Creative learning formats
The ACS provides extensive support while encouraging innovation in accredited education. The CPDA Section will offer guidance related to relevant and meaningful formats that may work for each partner. An example of a creative learning format involves the use of social media for CME Credit. Participants engage in a weekly facilitated Twitter discussion about a trending topic in scientific and medical education. After evaluating the quality and impact of the educational experience, the learner may receive CME Credit for their participation.
Live educational activities calendar
All ACS-accredited live meetings and Internet-based activities (both those offered by the ACS and through PartnerCME) are posted on the CME Educational Activities Calendar. The Calendar provides added promotion and visibility for the partnering organization’s educational activities by allowing individuals to search by date, CME state requirements, or topic of interest, for learning opportunities around the world.
After participating in an ACS-accredited educational activity, an individual’s CME Credit is automatically transmitted to the MyCME portal. MyCME provides a personalized portfolio to assist ACS members with managing their continuing education and CME Credits. With MyCME, the ACS Division of Education is committed to helping Members organize and track CME Credits claimed from all Directly Sponsored and PartnerCME educational programs. Members can download, store, and print CME Certificates and transcripts, as well as electronically transmit CME Credit records to licensing and medical/surgical boards with ease.
Partner with the ACS
The ACS Division of Education’s CPDA Section strives to incorporate innovation in compliance for accredited educational programs. Accreditation from the ACS enhances educational activities by fostering creativity, providing robust guidance and support to partnering organizations, marketing and promoting educational offerings, and managing credit for ACS members.
The CPDA Section (CPDA@facs.org) is eager to collaborate with organizations that may be interested in receiving low-cost CME Credit for innovative and meaningful educational activities. As a special benefit to ACS members, the ACS will waive the standard PartnerCME $450 application fee for first-time accreditation in any format. Encourage your organization to partner with us to provide CME Credit for an educational activity and receive the benefits of ACS accreditation.
For more information on these programs, visit the PartnerCME Joint Providership Program web page to learn about accrediting your educational activity; and visit the College’s MyCME web page and the Accreditation, Verfification, and Validation Programs’ web page.