UT Southwestern Medical Center
Office of Continuing Education 
Vendor Relationships and CME


I. Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME)

A. UT Southwestern Medical Center is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education. The purpose of accreditation is to provide a framework that motivates educators to achieve their full potential. Accredited organizations are responsible for demonstrating that they meet requirements for delivering independent CME that accelerates learning, change, and improvement in healthcare. The ACCME accredits organizations that provide continuing medical education for physicians. The ACCME does not accredit individual educational activities.

UT Southwestern requires that its faculty members and other individuals who act as CME course directors or CME faculty and presenters comply with the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) Essentials, Standards, and Policies. 

B. ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education
The Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education are designed to ensure that accredited continuing education serves the needs of patients and the public, is based on valid content, and is free from commercial influence. See Standard 4:Manage Commercial Support Appropriately and Standard 5: Manage Ancillary Activities Offered in Conjunction with Accredited Continuing Education

II. Financial Relationships

A. Ineligible companies
Companies that are ineligible to be accredited in the ACCME System are those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. Examples of such organizations are listed here

B. Disclosure of financial relationships*
All individuals in a position to control the content of a continuing medical education activity must disclose all financial relationships with any “ACCME-defined” ineligible company to the provider. The ACCME defines an ineligible company as one whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients. UT Southwestern also considers ineligible those companies producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products in development for future use on patients, such as healthcare product research companies. 

*[IMPORTANT: All financial relationships must also be reported to the COI Office on the COI Statement of Financial Interest]

C. Mitigation of financial conflicts of interest
Once financial relationships are identified/disclosed to the Office of Continuing Education (OCE), it is the provider’s responsibility to determine if the financial relationship(s) is relevant.  The OCE must mitigate all relevant financial relationship(s) with an ineligible company of all individuals planning, presenting or otherwise in a position to influence and/or control the content of continuing medical education activity prior to assuming their role as a planner, presenter/author, or other role impacting content. 

III. Funding of CME Activities

A. Funding solicitation
Per UTSW Policy, FSS-551 Continuing Medical Education (Appendix A), Commercial exhibitors are allowed in association with continuing education programs as long as they are in compliance with UT Southwestern policies (see ETH-105 Relationships of UT Southwestern Faculty, Employees, and Trainees with Vendors (Appendix B). In addition, ACCME Standards for Integrity and Independence in Accredited Continuing Education are to be followed when exhibits are employed in conjunction with a continuing medical education program.

B. Commercial support [Independent Medical Education (IME) Grant]
The Office of Continuing Education is designated by UTSW to manage all independent medical education grant funding, including submission of the application, processing of the Letter of Agreement (LOA) and distribution of the funds. Please note that due to market competition and industry funding designation, education grant submission should be completed several months prior to the planned activity date. 

C. Exhibitor support
‘Exhibitor Fees’ must be equitably offered at fair market value, to all potential supporters. ‘Exhibitor Fees’ are not considered ‘Commercial Support’ by ACCME. Rather this fee is considered a promotional fee. Marketing by ineligible companies includes advertisement of company name acknowledgement of commercial and/or exhibitor support.

All exhibitor outreach, letter of agreement coordination, and fee collection is overseen and managed by the Office of Continuing Education (OCE)

D. Corporate logos, trade names and product-group messages
ACCME requires the separation of education from all promotional activities, materials, and messages. Many providers create a print or text-based document that goes along with an activity and provides information that is supplementary to the education content - like reproductions of slides, graphics or other handouts. These documents, in print or electronic form, are an integral part of the education and as such cannot have any advertising, corporate logo, trade name or a product-group message of an ineligible company associated with them. 

E. Exhibitor separation and layout
Exhibits must be in a separate space, apart from the location of the educational activity. Exhibit space is provided equitably to all prospective supporters, on a first-come, first-serve basis. 

The space provided by the host typically consists of a 6-ft table and 2 chairs. Table-top displays and handouts are allowed in this space.

For More information on eligible funding sources for CME Activities, please see ‘CME Activity Funding Sources’ (Appendix C)