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 – September 2023 Newsletter

Welcome to AOE’s September 2023 edition of AOE Compliance Connection, our monthly newsletter. In this edition, we feature three exciting updates from the ACCME, including an upcoming event, a new MOC collaboration, and a new activity function in PARS. We also feature a technology update from the ANCC and take a few moments for a quick review of Standard 3 of the Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education. Take just a moment to follow us on social media (Twitter and Facebook) for helpful weekly compliance tips and updates. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions or CE compliance inquiries of any type: We are here for your CE success!


ACCME: Three Updates

The ACCME is brimming with updates and improvements for providers, including upcoming events, new collaborations, and new activity functions in PARS. Here we’ll offer an overview of each and links for more in-depth information as well.

  1. A virtual gathering, Learn to Thrive PLUS, for the accredited CE community is planned for October 24, 2023 that will include tools, strategies, and resources from the Chicago 2023 meeting; a look into the progress of the 2023 Working Groups as they develop solutions for common CE challenges, and a closer look at sharing learner credit data for CE, MOC, and Licensure. Registration will be open until October 20 for this one-day virtual event.
  1. Maintenance of Certification (MOC) Collaborations are always exciting news for providers and learners alike. Beginning October 2023, the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery (ABOS) has joined the ranks of collaborators for CME for MOC and will begin allowing digital reporting of CME and MOC credits for orthopaedic surgeons. For more information on CME for MOC Collaborations, including a list of other collaborating boards, click here.
  1. Yet another PARS function update has taken place after community feedback pointed to a need. Effective immediately, the “copy activity” function is now available; providers can copy an existing activity from their activity summary by simply hovering and clicking copy. This can also be achieved from the activity detail view. More details can be found here, including which fields automatically copy and which need to be entered manually.


CE Compliance Help: ANCC Upcoming Changes

In their most recent newsletter in August, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) announced a shift that will affect their providers: They will be discontinuing their current online platform (PAORS) and shifting to their new online platform, OARS. They asked their providers for patience during the process, acknowledging that any growing pains will be worth the streamlined and intuitive result. Additionally, the ANCC is working with a new vendor to update NARS, explaining that it will have a similar look and feel but with “improved functionality built specifically for our program”.


Let’s Review: A Survey of the Standards (part 3)

The Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education were released in December 2020 with required implementation by January 1, 2022, officially replacing the established Standards for Commercial Support. As all providers are required to demonstrate ongoing compliance with the Standards, it is a good practice for CE teams to review and refresh on the content and requirements of each Standard.

Over these fall months, AOE is featuring one Standard per newsletter (we already featured Standard 1 and Standard 2) to ultimately offer readers insight and tools beyond a surface level. Let’s continue this month with Standard 3.

Standard 3

Standard 3 pertains to the identification, mitigation, and disclosure of relevant financial relationships. The entire standard deals with steps providers are required to take to prevent the influence of ineligible companies on accredited CE.

The five components of the standard flesh out the action steps required of all accredited CE providers:

  1. Collect Information: The accredited provider must collect information regarding all financial relationships (any amount) with ineligible companies from ALL individuals in control of educational content (inclusive of planners, faculty, and others) within the prior 24 months. The collected information should include the name of the ineligible company with which the person has a financial relationship AND the nature of the financial relationship.

The ACCME clarifies that the collection of financial disclosure can happen on an annual OR activity-by-activity basis. If an organization chooses to collect annually or biannually, they should instruct the individual to communicate with them when updates to disclosure occur to ensure up-to-date information.

One additional area of frequent confusion regarding this portion of Standard 3 is the method of information collection. While the ACCME doesn’t require that providers use a disclosure form to collect financial information, it is a commonly used mechanism by many providers. Other options include verbal collection (and subsequent recording of the information in a spreadsheet, etc.) or electronic collection (e-mail, web-forms, etc.).

  1. Exclusion of Owners or Employees of Ineligible Companies: An important and often overlooked requirement of this standard is the consideration of those employed by ineligible companies or owners of said companies. Per the ACCME, these individuals must be excluded from controlling content in any way, with three, special-use exceptions:
    • When the content of the activity is not related to the business lines or products of their employer/company.
    • When the content of the accredited activity is limited to basic science research.
    • When they are participating as technicians to teach the safe and proper use of medical devices, and do not recommend whether or when a device is used.
  2. Identification of Relevant Financial Relationships: Accredited providers are responsible for reviewing the submitted financial relationship information to determine if a financial relationship(s) is relevant (occurring in the past 24 months with an ineligible company and when the educational content that the individual can control is related to the business lines/products of the ineligible company).
  3. Mitigation of Relevant Financial Relationships: Accredited providers must then take steps to protect the integrity of CE content from commercial bias by mitigating the relevant financial relationships that are identified. Mitigation must occur PRIOR to the individual assuming their role, and the steps taken must be appropriate to the role of the individual (steps for planners will differ from steps for faculty). All steps and actions taken must be documented.
  4. Disclosure of all Relevant Financial Relationships to Learners: The final step in Standard 3 is for the accredited provider to disclose to the learners the following four components:
    • The names of individuals with relevant financial relationships
    • The names of the ineligible company (but only the name – not the logo or other company/product information)
    • The nature of the relationships
    • A statement that the relationship(s) has been mitigated

Learners at any given activity must receive this disclosure information in a format that allows for them to engage with the disclosures BEFORE they engage with the CE content. An important note: Accredited providers must disclose the absence of relevant financial relationships, as well.

The ACCME provides only three exceptions to Standard 3. Accredited providers do NOT need to complete the above 5 steps (collection, exclusion, identification, mitigation, disclosure) when the accredited education is non-clinical, when the learner is in control of content, and when the learner controls their educational goals and reports on the resulting changes.

More information about all the Standards can be found here.

Upcoming Events

  • MAACME 2023 Annual Conference
    September 27-28, 2023, Pocono Manor, PA
  • ANCC NCPD Summit
    October 10-11, 2023, Chicago, IL
  • ANCC 2023 National Magnet Conference
    October 12-14, 2023, Chicago, IL
  • CMEpalooza Fall 2023
    October 18, 2023, Virtual
  • Learn to Thrive PLUS
    October 24, 2023, Virtual, 10am-3:45pm


CME Watch

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

More >


Weekly Compliance Tip

How do we know when it’s time to apply for ACCME reaccreditation?

Whoever is listed in PARS as your organization’s designated primary contact will…

More >


Phone: (303) 557-0859
AOE Consulting, LLC
8156-E S. Wadsworth Blvd.
Suite 198
Littleton, CO 80128