AOE Compliance Connection

AOE’s monthly newsletter that offers accreditation board bulletins for the ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC, along with updates on the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, highlights of AOE services, and information on upcoming activities and educational opportunities.

AOE Compliance Connection – March 2018 Newsletter

We have much to share with you this month, including a year in review report from the ACCME, important tech updates from the ACPE, and an exciting announcement about one of AOE’s own staff members!  Look for our regular board bulletins for ACCME, ACPE, and ANCC information, inclusive of upcoming activities and educational opportunities.

We are committed to excellence in everything we do:  Customer service, compliance management, training and consulting and keeping our thumb on the pulse of an ever-changing enterprise.  This newsletter is just one of the many resources we make available to our partners and CME/CE stakeholders.

We hope you enjoy this month’s edition of AOE Compliance Connection! For even more information, compliance tips and a look at the staff at AOE, please visit our webpage or reach out to us at


Accreditation Board Bulletin


The ACCME requires accredited providers ensure that those in control of CME content disclose to the provider all relevant financial relationships. It is important, first, to understand how the ACCME defines a financial relationship.

Financial relationships are:

  • Relationships in which the individual benefits by receiving a salary, royalty, intellectual property rights, consulting fee, honoraria for promotional speakers’ bureau, ownership interest (e.g., stocks, stock options or other ownership interest, excluding diversified mutual funds), or other financial benefit.
  • Typically associated with roles such as employment, management position, consulting, independent contractor/research, speaking/teaching, membership on advisory committees, review panels or boards, along with other activities from which compensation is received.
  • Also financial relationships of the individual’s spouse/partner (they are considered the same in the eyes of the ACCME).

Standard 2.1 of the ACCME’s Standards for Commercial Support takes that explanation one step further and explains that relevant financial relationships are financial relationships:

  • In any amount
  • Which occurred in the 12-month period preceding the time that an individual was asked to assume a role controlling content of the CME activity, and
  • Which relate to the content of the educational activity

When an individual has both a financial relationship with an ACCME-defined commercial interest and an opportunity to affect the content of accredited CME about the products or services of that commercial interest, a conflict of interest (COI) is created. At that point, there may be motivation to influence the content of CME and introduce commercial bias. An appropriate resolution mechanism, based on the individual’s role in the CME activity, must be identified and implemented in order to appropriately resolve the identified COI(s).

PARS Reminder:

As a reminder, the deadline for entering data into the Program and Activity Reporting System (PARS) for the 2017 reporting year is Monday, April 2, 2018. Activity data from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 must be reported. For more information on PARS, click here.


The Lead Nurse Planner (LNP) of an ANCC accredited Provider Unit (PU) holds a large amount of responsibility and oversite of the CNE Program. Within this role, the LNP is responsible for PU personnel management including orientation, monitoring, and evaluation of PU staff and Nurse Planners.


  • The LNP is accountable for orientation of Nurse Planners and individuals carrying out support functions for the PU. The LNP must actively write, review, and revise position descriptions to ensure new members are informed of the purpose, function, and roles within the PU.
  • Nurse Planners perform functions specific to planning, implementation, and evaluation of the learning activities, thus proper orientation, led by the LNP, is crucial to a PU’s success. All Nurse Planners must be reported to the Accreditation Program Office to ensure that the PU has a properly qualified person directing the learning activities.
  • The LNP must provide the Nurse Planner with a copy of the most recent Accreditation Manual and related ANCC primary accreditation information. Follow-up discussions and mentorship must continue to ensure high-quality continuing nursing education (CNE) is presented to nurse learners.

Monitoring and Evaluating:

  • To ensure PU personnel are performing in accordance to ANCC criteria, inclusive of proper documentation of the education design process (EDP), the LNP must periodically monitor this process. There are several ways a LNP can conduct the analysis, examples of which include:
    • Chart Audits of educational activity files, verifying inclusion and completion of all documentation;
    • Overview of planning meetings to ensure that all planning steps are completed; and/or
    • Schedule regular meetings with Nurse Planners to address issues, concerns, and best practices.
  • Nurse Planners are expected to fulfill explicit functions, and the LNP must conduct evaluations to confirm that these are satisfied.

The previous monitoring mechanisms may be included in the evaluations. If a Nurse Planner does not meet expectations, the LNP should take appropriate action via remediation attempts or replacement, as the LNP is accountable for the overall effectiveness of the PU.

NARS Reminder:

As a reminder, the deadline for entering data into the Nursing Activity Reporting System (NARS) for the 2017 reporting year is Monday, April 1, 2018. Activity data from January 1, 2017 through December 31, 2017 must be reported. Click here for more information.


In their latest edition of the ACPE Tech Times Newsletter, the ACPE featured a series of updates/announcements regarding their Provider Web Tool (PWT). Here is a brief summary of that information:

  1. Batch Import Activity Feature
    There is now a batch up load feature in order to allow accredited providers to submit multiple Activity Description Forms (ADFs) using one file submission. A TXT template is available for download in the Batch Import Activities option, along with additional guidance.
  2. Revised Tech Documents
    Three documents have been updated to include recent policy and process changes related to the PWT and Regularly Scheduled Series (RSS): Provider Web Tool User Guide, Provider Web Tool Quick Reference Guide, Regularly Scheduled Series Document.
  3. ADF Submission 14-Day Policy: The required items for awarding credit/certificates
    A reminder was issued that all providers are required to submit ADFs to the PWT at least 14 days prior to the activity launch/release. This isn’t a new feature, but a reminder about the existing policy.
  4. Risk Evaluation Mitigation Strategy-REMS Program Companies (REMS-RPC) Funded Selection
    The REMS-RPC radio button must be selected if the activity has been funded through RPC independent education grants.

To address the above updates (and others), providers can expect a webinar to be scheduled soon.


CME in the News: ACCME 2017 Annual Report

Last month, the ACCME released their inaugural year-in-review report with the intention of showcasing the efforts of the ACCME and CME community at large. This report, Transforming Continuing Medical Education Together: 2017 Highlights from the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) features multiple initiatives from the CME community that promote meaningful change and communication. Some key points from the report:

  • Continued emphasis on the new Menu of Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation as the CME community’s vision of the future of education.
  • More freedom/flexibility for CME providers thanks to the ACCME/American Medical Association (AMA) simplification and alignment.
  • Collaborations (between providers, boards and educators) that result in expanded opportunities for physicians to cover multiple requirements with one activity.
  • A focus on interprofessional continuing education (IPCE) as demonstrated by a new IPCE credit mark that identifies those activities designed to improve the healthcare team.

Graham McMahon, President and CEO of the ACCME, recorded a brief video introduction of the report, which can be viewed here. He states, “The CME community has much to be proud of. We look forward to continuing our work together, as we fulfill our shared aspiration to enhance education, drive improvements in clinician and team performance, and—most important—to optimize care for the patients we all serve.” –Graham McMahon, MD, MMSc, ACCME President and CEO

You can read the full report on the ACCME’s website.


New Program Manager: Renea Marin

Join us in congratulating AOE’s own Renea Marin on her recent promotion to Program Manager!

Renea brings five years of project management, marketing and logistics coordination to AOE’s partners. Renea is well-versed in accreditation compliance, including activity file documentation and conflict-of-interest management. Renea also brings extensive experience in association management, where she has led annual membership renewals and executed member communication strategies. Prior to joining AOE, Renea worked for Sidney Regional Medical Center in Nebraska where she gained experience in administration and customer support operations. At AOE, Renea works directly with AOE’s clients to assist with reaccreditation and activity compliance management. Renea earned her Bachelor’s of Science from the University of Wyoming.

Congratulations, Renea! We are glad to have you on the AOE team.

Commendation Criteria 101

The Menu of New Criteria for Accreditation with Commendation has now been in place for three cohorts and the ACCME has greatly expanded the resources available to accredited providers seeking Accreditation with Commendation through the new menu.

Only four more cohorts (Nov 2018, March 2019, July 2019 and Nov 2019) are eligible to pick between the existing commendation criteria (C16-C22) and the Menu of New Criteria (C23-C38). Whether or not your organization has the ability to choose, it is recommended that all accredited providers begin to assess their CME program and develop a strategic plan for how to address the new criteria. Implementing changes can take time, so the sooner an accredited provider begins to prepare, the more prepared the organization will be to address the new criteria and provide sufficient examples of evidence.

The Menu of New Criteria allows accredited providers to choose which criteria best fit their CME program. There are 16 criteria total split into five categories. To achieve Accreditation with Commendation providers must demonstrate compliance with any seven criteria of their choice, from any category, plus one criterion from the Achieves Outcomes category for a total of eight criteria.

AOE Consulting offers staff training specific to the Menu of New Criteria to help your CME staff prepare to write a Self-Study or strategically plan for programmatic changes to meet the new criteria. We’ve worked with several accredited providers to address the Menu of New Criteria and have a strong understanding of the rationale, critical elements and standard for each criterion.

If your organization is seeking more information regarding the Menu of New Criteria or feeling overwhelmed with where to start, please contact us at

Upcoming Activities/Education Opportunities

  • Advanced CME for MOC: Ask Your Questions Webinar
    March 20, 2018, online
  • ANCC Primary Accreditation New Applicant Workshop
    April 3, 2018, Silver Spring, MD
  • ANCC Primary Accreditation Accredited Provider Workshop
    April 4, 2018, Silver Spring, MD
  • ANCC Primary Accreditation Accredited Approver Workshop
    April 5, 2018, Silver Spring, MD
  • ACCME 2018 Meeting: Building an Educational Home Together
    April 17-19, 2018, Chicago, IL
  • 2018 SACME Annual Conference
    April 25-28, 2018, San Antonio, TX
  • ANCC Pathway Conference
    May 1-3, 2018, West Palm Beach, FL
  • Beginner CME for MOC: Ask Your Questions Webinar
    May 22, 2018, online


CME Watch

AOE’s video blog that provides updates on the CME/CE industry. AOE’s Managing Director Annika Gill gives insights on CME/CE current events and best practices.

More >


Weekly Compliance Tip

I’m working on our CPE goal and mission statements.  What’s the difference between them?

Both a goal and a mission statement are required by the ACPE, and there is a difference!  According to…

More >


Phone: (303) 557-0859
5575 S. Sycamore St., Suite 235
Littleton, CO 80120