Massachusetts Medical Society: Initial Applicants Applying for Accreditation

Initial Applicants Applying for Accreditation

For first time, or "initial" applicants, the accreditation process takes approximately 6-9 months to complete.  If your organization is considering applying for accreditation, there are several factors you should consider in determining if MMS accreditation is right for you.

Purpose of Accreditation

Like ACCME, MMS accreditation is a mark of quality continuing medical education (CME) activities that are planned, implemented and evaluated by MMS accredited providers in accordance with ACCME Accreditation Criteria and MMS Policies. MMS accreditation assures the medical community and public that such activities provide physicians with information that will assist them in maintaining or improving their practice of medicine. These activities are free of commercial bias and based on valid content. 

Purpose of MMS Accreditation Program

Expectations of MMS

  • Eligible organizations that decide to apply for MMS accreditation should be prepared to describe and furnish evidence that demonstrates compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria and MMS Policies. For this reason, organizations considering application must plan, implement and evaluate at least one CME activity prior to beginning the accreditation process.
  • MMS expects its accredited providers to monitor their overall CME program for compliance with the ACCME Accreditation Criteria and MMS Policies and to fulfill annual reporting requirements.
  • Payment of certain fees is required to obtain and maintain MMS accreditation. 
  • It is strongly recommended that accredited providers appoint a physician (MD or DO) as the Director of Medical Education (DME). This individual is responsible for the oversight and management of the CME program and the main contact for the organization's CME program.


The following criteria must be met before an organization will be considered for MMS accreditation:

The organization must:

  • Be located in Massachusetts or one of its contiguous states 
  • Serve a target audience of no more than 30% of physician learners from outside Massachusetts and its contiguous states. Organizations with a national audience should apply for accreditation from the ACCME;
  • Not be a commercial interest. A commercial interest is any entity producing, marketing, re-selling, or distributing health care goods or services consumed by, or used on, patients. The MMS does not consider providers of clinical service directly to patients to be commercial interests;
  • Be developing and presenting CME programs on a regular and reoccurring basis.
  • Present activities that have "valid" content. Specifically, these activities should 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;
  • Demonstrate an overall organizational commitment to the CME program, including physician support, budget support, staffing, and record-keeping resources.

The Pre-Application Process:

The purpose of the pre-application is to provide an organization with an opportunity to explain its eligibility for MMS accreditation, as well as to demonstrate that it has mechanisms in place to fulfill the ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria and MMS Policies when producing CME activities.
There are four steps to the pre-application process:

  1. Review the requirements and processes outlined in the following documents:
    1. ACCME Standards for Commercial SupportSM; (.pdf, 3 pages)
    2. MMS Accreditation Requirements;
    3. MMS Glossary of CME Terms
  2. Schedule a 30-minute conference call with the Manager of the Recognized Accreditor Program, Nancy Marotta, to discuss your eligibility.   

    Once it has been determined that your organization is eligible, Ms. Marotta will email you a Pre-Application for MMS Accreditation.  You may contact Ms. Marotta by calling 781-434-7906, or via email:
  3. Complete and submit the Pre-Application for MMS Accreditation and a non-refundable application processing fee of $250.  

    Once you have completed and submitted the Pre-Application for MMS Accreditation and paid the pre-application fee, the MMS will review the pre-application to determine your organization's eligibility and to verify that your organization has mechanisms in place to meet MMS requirements.
  4. Begin the process for achieving Provisional Accreditation.  

    MMS will notify your organization of the pre-application review outcome and whether or not you are eligible to continue with the process for achieving Provisional Accreditation- a two-year term. The MMS sends this notification in writing, usually within four weeks of receipt of a pre-application.

    If the pre-application is deemed not appropriate at the time, the Manager of the Recognized Accreditor Program will contact the applicant and explain the reasons for denial and areas that need further development. An applicant may reapply once changes have been made to meet the accreditation standards.

Initial Accreditation Process

If your organization is deemed eligible through the pre-application review process, you will be invited to continue with the initial accreditation process.  The MMS’ initial accreditation process is an opportunity for each applicant to demonstrate that its practice of CME is in compliance with the MMS’ accreditation requirements through three primary sources of data:

  • Initial self-study report for MMS accreditation
  • Evidence of performance-in-practice
  • Initial accreditation survey interview

You will be required to submit the written self-study report and evidence of performance-in-practice.  Once all required information has been received, the MMS will schedule your accreditation survey interview. As a part of the survey the MMS surveyor team may attend a scheduled, live CME activity to evaluate the presentation content as well the level of compliance with regard to: attendance monitoring, faculty disclosure, evaluation, commercial support and exhibits. Routinely, the DME, CME Coordinator, members of the CME Committee and Medical Science Librarian (if applicable) will meet with the MMS survey team.  This interview may take up to two-hours.  During the interview portion of the survey, the surveyor team will ask questions to help determine the organization's level of compliance with the ACCME’s Accreditation Criteria and MMS Policies.

After the survey, the surveyor team members will write and submit a report with their findings to the MMS Committee on Accreditation Review (CAR). The CAR will review the report at its next scheduled meeting and a decision will be made about accreditation. At this time, an accreditation fee of $3,500 (as of 1/1/2016) will be due from the organization. The organization will be notified in writing about the results of the survey. The MMS will also notify the ACCME about the organization's new accreditation status, accreditation term and expiration date. The maximum term an initial applicant can receive is two years. After the initial term, the organization would be eligible for reaccreditation. If successful in reaccreditation, the organization would be eligible for a status of either Accreditation (with a four year term) or Accreditation with Commendation (with a six year term). 

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