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Become an Accredited Provider

Let the WSMA help your organization become an accredited provider and ensure your physicians are receiving CME that meets our high standards of excellence.

The WSMA is recognized by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide a voluntary interstate accreditation program for organizations that provide Category 1 continuing medical education activities. CME is central to life-long learning and professional development to which physicians and the WSMA are committed. Through its accreditation program, the WSMA seeks to assure physicians and the public that CME activities presented by accredited providers meet the high standards adopted by the association and by the ACCME.

WSMA CME Accreditation Service

The WSMA offers CME accreditation services to numerous providers meeting our high standards of quality. Specifically our CME Accreditation Committee is charged with:

  • Monitoring the administration of the mandatory continuing medical education requirements of the Washington State Medical Quality Assurance Commission.
  • Evaluating and accrediting providers of intrastate Category 1 continuing medical education programs.
  • Representing the WSMA in its professional role to assure that appropriate needs assessment programs are carried out on behalf of its members; that its members are encouraged to participate in the full spectrum of continuing medical education activities; that they are assisted by the WSMA in becoming acquainted with the extent of those opportunities; and that the WSMA assists in evaluation of the same.
  • Advising the Washington State Medical Commission (formerly the Medical Quality Assurance Commission) on medical education, continuing medical education, licensure and other issues as directed by the WSMA Board of Trustees or Executive Committee.

Purpose of accreditation

Accreditation is the set standard to assure quality continuing medical education activities that are planned, implemented and evaluated in accordance with all WSMA policies, the ACCME accreditation requirements and policies and standards of commercial support.

If you have questions about WSMA's accreditation services, contact Kendra Peterson, manager of education and accreditation, at kendra@wsma.org or 206.956.3638.

Initial Accreditation

Eligibility requirements, expectations of WSMA-accredited providers, and the first steps in becoming accredited.

Eligibility to apply for WSMA accreditation

Organizations planning on applying for “initial accreditation” must meet the following requirements:

  • Be located in Washington state or Alaska.
  • Have an organizational structure with a significant level of physician governance.
  • Have a separate planning and approval process.
  • Have a target audience with no more than 30 percent out of Washington (or Alaska) or bordering states (Alaska and Hawaii are included in bordering states). Should more than 30 percent be from out of state the provider will need to seek accreditation directly from the ACCME.
  • Plan, implement and evaluate at least two CME activities within the 24-month period prior to the submission of materials for initial accreditation.
  • Demonstrate an overall organizational commitment to the CME program, including physician support, budget support, staffing, staff continued education and record-keeping resources.
  • Not be a commercial interest. A “commercial interest” is defined by the ACCME as any entity producing, marketing, re-selling or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients.

Expectations of WSMA-accredited providers

Pre-applicant and accredited providers are expected to:

  • Demonstrate compliance with all WSMA and ACCME accreditation requirements.
  • Evaluate overall CME program on a regular basis for compliance with the accreditation requirements and make changes as necessary.
  • Submit on-time ACCME annual reporting data.
  • Submit on-time WSMA annual or interim reporting data (dependent on level of accreditation).
  • Inform WSMA of any changes to program size, content, structure, staff support or administration.
  • Submit on-time any Progress Report or Plan required by the CME Accreditation Committee.
  • Payment of certain fees to obtain and retain accreditation.

Type of organizations and institutions eligible for accreditation

The WSMA accredits the following organizations and institutions:

  • Community hospitals which provide continuing medical education activities for hospital medical staffs and physicians in the local community;
  • Medical organizations which do not have national administrative scope: e.g., regional, statewide, county, or other local societies;
  • Local units of voluntary health organizations not under national administration for their continuing medical education;
  • Any other organizations and institutions, which sponsor or produce continuing medical education program for physicians, which are essentially local in nature. An applicant might also be a major unit of an institution; i.e., the department of radiology of a major medical center.

Instructions for initial applicants

The first steps in becoming a WSMA-accredited CME provider are to complete the pre-application form for initial CME accreditation and submit the pre-application fee (see Fees section on this page). Please fill out the form and email to Kendra Peterson, manager of education and accreditation. Mail the pre-application fee to: 

WSMA
c/o Kendra Peterson
Manager, Education and Accreditation
2001 6th Ave., Ste. 2700
Seattle, WA 98121

The purpose of the pre-application is for WSMA to determine if your organization is eligible for WSMA CME accreditation by explaining the mechanisms in place to meet the WSMA policies and guidelines.

Once approved, you will be mailed the WSMA accreditation manual and application, which includes the application for accreditation. The WSMA accredits providers on a “cohort” system. Providers are divided into one of three cohorts. Your due date will be based on the next available cohort. Once accredited, all future re-applications, annual reporting and accreditation fees will be based on that cohort’s expiration dates. In order to find out which cohort your organization can apply for, please contact Kendra Peterson, manager of education and accreditation, at kendra@wsma.org or 206.956.3638.

Re-accreditation

Information on re-accreditation for WSMA-accredited providers.

If your organization is currently accredited by WSMA and you are seeking re-accreditation, you will receive a notice of re-accreditation approximately 12 months from your current term expiration date.

Cohort   Notification date*   Expiration date   Survey
1   March   March   November–January
2   July   July   February–May
3   November   November   June–October

* The notification date is one year prior to the expiration date.

WSMA staff will send the most current version of WSMA accreditation manual & application, including all application documents, and an invoice for re-accreditation fees (for a current fee schedule, see Fees section on this page).

Please contact Kendra Peterson, manager of education and accreditation, at kendra@wsma.org or 206.956.3638 for more information.

Application materials

Cohort 1 expiration March 2018

Cohort 2 expiration July 2017

Cohort 3 expiration November 2017

* See How to Use the ACCME Performance-In-Practice Structured Abstract

Accreditation Process

On-site survey and criteria compliance.

Once the WSMA has received your self-study application and related documents it will be reviewed by WSMA staff. Staff will notify you should any items be missing from the application.

The next step in the accreditation process is an on-site survey. You will be required to submit at least five dates in the range dictated by your cohort. WSMA staff will work to find surveyors from the WSMA CME Accreditation Committee to volunteer to review your CME program. You will be notified when a date has been chosen.

On-site survey

The on-site survey consists of three parts: a review of Performance in Practice (activity) files, a review, or clarification, of the self-study application, and an interview. Surveyors will use the three elements to gain a comprehensive view of the program in its entirety. Surveyors are only fact-gatherers, they do not give an accreditation decision at the time of the survey. After the site survey, surveyors will report their findings to the WSMA CME Accreditation Committee, which meets three times a year. The committee will make an accreditation decision and you will then be notified of your new accreditation status.

Criteria compliance

Accreditation status decisions are based on compliance with all applicable accreditation criteria. These criteria have been established as a model for CME programs. The accreditation criteria are divided into three levels. Compliance with a set minimum of criteria is required to pursue each level of accreditation.

Accreditation status decisions

Status   Term
Level 1: Provisional accreditation (for initial accreditation only)   Up to two years; must be in compliance with all Level 1 criteria
Level 1: Extended provisional accreditation   Up to two years; must be in compliance with all Level 1 criteria
Level 2: Full accreditation   Up to four years; must be in compliance with Level 2 criteria. Non-compliance in any Level 2 criteria will necessitate a progress report and/or re-survey. Failure to demonstrate compliance in the progress report and/or re-survey may result in probation.
Level 3: Accreditation with commendation   Six years; must be in compliance with all Level 3 criteria.
Level 1: Probation   Up to two years maximum (with full accreditation status resumed when progress report on correction of deficiencies received, validated and accepted by the WSMA). Probation cannot be extended. Providers that fail to demonstrate compliance with all Level 2 criteria within 2 years will receive non-accreditation
Non-accreditation   Accreditation withdrawn or withheld for non-compliance

Provider Education

Resources from the WSMA, ACCME and others.

Policies and Requirements

Information on WSMA and AMA’s accreditation policies and requirements.

Download and review the WSMA CME policies and accreditation requirements.

Additionally, WSMA accredited providers are responsible for abiding by AMA requirements to award AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) .

For policy or accreditation requirement questions, please contact Kendra Peterson, manager of education and accreditation, at kendra@wsma.org or 206.956.3638.

CME Accreditation Fees

Accreditation fees for Washington and Alaska providers, as well as Washington county medical and specialty societies.

2017-20 WSMA CME accreditation fees

  Annual fee* Pre-application Initial accreditation** CME training Extension fee Progress report Follow-up report Late fee
WA providers $3,800 $250 $4,600 $500  $760 $1,275 $380 $300
AK providers $4,250 $300 $5,600 $500 $850 $1,400 $420 $400
WA county medical and specialty societies $2,500 $200 $3,250 $500  $500 $825 $250 $200

*Includes registration fee for one attendee at the WSMA annual CME provider conference.
**CME training required for initial applicants. Training fee not included.

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