Types of Accreditation
A school that is found to be in full compliance with the Standards following a FAR during the final year of the previous period of accreditation will be granted unconditional accreditation for a maximum of six years. In some instances, areas for improvement may be identified with a recommendation that they be implemented by the time of the next mid-cycle inspection. The school is required to notify the Commission promptly of any substantive change, to remain in full compliance with the ACCM Standards of Accreditation and to complete the annual database and other required documentation. The purpose of these requirements is to enable the Commission to determine if the school remains in full compliance with the Standards and should retain its accreditation status.
A school that is found to be in substantial compliance with the Standards will be granted conditional accreditation for a period of up to two years. The Commission will attach conditions, such as the need for a re-inspection and updates in relation to areas of weakness or deficiency. The ACCM may grant conditional accreditation if it has identified either (a) one or more areas of noncompliance identified in an inspection visit or (b) one or more areas of noncompliance with standards that are of recent origin and will, if not corrected within 1-2 years, compromise the ability of the medical school to conduct the medical education programme. At the end of the two years of conditional accreditation, the following options are open to the Board:
- Grant unconditional accreditation for a specified period
- Continue conditional accreditation for a further two years
- Continue accreditation but place the programme on probation (see 3.4)
- Withdraw accreditation
Schools applying for accreditation for the first time
A school being evaluated for accreditation for the first time whose facilities are not co-located but are located in separate geographical locations may require several separate site visits by the ACCM inspection team over a specified time period in order to fully complete the requirements for unconditional accreditation. In these circumstances, the school may be granted conditional accreditation for one year where it is found to be in substantial compliance with ACCM standards following an inspection of the medical school campus (or pre-clinical campus as appropriate).
At the end of this year, when the administrative headquarters and clinical sites have been inspected, conditional accreditation will, depending on the degree of compliance with the ACCM Standards of Accreditation, be replaced by:
- Unconditional accreditation
- Continued conditional accreditation
- Probationary accreditation
A school that is found to be in full compliance with the ACCM Standards will be granted unconditional accreditation for a maximum of 5 years. A school that is found to be in substantial compliance with the ACCM Standards will have its conditional accreditation extended for an additional year. A school that falls out of substantial compliance with the Standards will be placed on probation.
However, a new applicant school where all facilities are co-located, thus permitting a full accreditation inspection to be carried out by ACCM in a single visit, may be granted unconditional accreditation for a maximum of 6 years if it is found to be fully compliant with the Standards at that time.
In circumstances where a school has already been granted accreditation (unconditional or conditional), the Commission may place it on probation if it falls out of substantial compliance with the Standards. The Commission will conduct detailed annual documentary reviews of a school that has been placed on probation to monitor its progress. In some circumstances, additional site inspections (medical school campus, clinical sites) may be necessary.
A school may spend a maximum of two years in probationary status. At the end of the two-year period, based on the annual reviews and site visits as appropriate, ACCM will either upgrade the school to conditional accreditation or withdraw accreditation entirely, unless the ACCM extends the period for achieving compliance for good cause shown.
Extensions for good cause shown are made at the sole discretion of the ACCM according to the following criteria:
- The programme has demonstrated significant progress and has a realistic timeline for the resolution of any remaining noncompliance issues.
- The programme has provided written and compelling evidence describing its plans to come into compliance within the extension period (e.g., a programme has documented the commitment of financial and human resources to resolve all remaining noncompliance issues within the extension period).
- The programme has provided written and compelling evidence that the nature of the needed change (e.g., facilities construction or renovation, fundraising for scholarships) reasonably requires a time period exceeding two years and has provided a realistic timeline to address the deficiency.
- The programme has provided documentation of the need for actions by groups external to the medical education programme (such as decisions by university or legislative bodies) and provided a timeline for when these actions are likely to occur.