Become a Provider - FAQ
Who is eligible for IMS accreditation?
In general terms, any U.S. organization that can demonstrate at least partial compliance with ACCME® Essential Areas and Elements and accreditation policies is eligible for IMS accreditation. There are, however, important exceptions to this general rule. For more information, see, "Determining Your Eligibility for ACCME Accreditation."
Determining Your Eligibility for IMS Accreditation
Only certain organizations are eligible to receive IMS accreditation. The following criteria must be met before an organization will be considered for IMS accreditation. The organization must:
- Be located in the state of Iowa or South Dakota.
- Be developing and/or presenting a program of CME for physicians on a regular and recurring basis.
- Not be a commercial interest.
- Not be developing and/or presenting a program of CME that is, in the judgment of the IMS, devoted to advocacy on unscientific modalities of diagnosis or therapy.
- Present activities that have "valid" content. Specifically, the organization must be presenting activities that promote recommendations, treatment or manners of practicing medicine that are within the definition of CME. Providers are not eligible for accreditation if they present activities that promote treatments that are known to have risks or dangers that outweigh the benefits or are known to be ineffective in the treatment of patients.
- Not currently accredited by ACCME as a CME provider.
When there is a question regarding eligibility, IMS reserves the right to make decisions on the issue, and has a formal process in place to do so.
How do I become accredited by the IMS?
The first step in obtaining IMS accreditation is completion of a "Pre-Application for IMS Accreditation." Prior to completing this pre-application, there are several things that CME providers should know. For a description of the factors that first-time applicants should consider, as well as the initial accreditation process itself, see the Accreditation Process.
Can my organization become accredited if it has not done a certified CME activity?
The IMS requires that a provider complete at least one activity prior to seeking accreditation. Note that these activities do not have to be certified for credit, but should serve as a demonstration of your organization's ability to understand and comply with IMS accreditation requirements. Accreditation is determined, in large part, by a provider's ability to demonstrate compliance with the IMS' accreditation requirements.
Does the IMS accredit individual activities?
No. The IMS accredits organizations that produce CME activities. The accreditation process includes the review of CME activities for the demonstration of compliance with the IMS' requirements.
How long does the IMS's accreditation process take?
The process of seeking first-time, or "initial" accreditation from the IMS generally takes 12 to 18 months. The reaccreditation process for providers that are already IMS accredited takes approximately seven months.
In what format does my self-study/application have to be submitted?
The IMS expects providers to submit descriptive narrative along with evidence that demonstrates compliance with the ACCME® Essential Areas, Elements and IMS policies. For providers seeking initial accreditation, the format is an application with questions and answers about the accreditation requirements. For providers seeking reaccreditation, the format is a self study report. The IMS supplies the provider with guidelines for the organization of the general sections of the application/self study report, and restricts the submission to a 2-inch binder.
Do I have to have an activity reviewed as part of my application for accreditation?
An activity must be reviewed prior to the awarding of full accreditation. However, there are two options for the timing of the review of the CME activity. The activity review can be held in conjunction with the first interview or, after two years of provisional accreditation, at the time of the interview for reaccreditation.