What is Programmatic Accreditation
Programmatic accreditation is a process that is designed to ensure that students in medical assisting programs receive an education consistent with standards for entry into practice. Medical assistants who graduate from CAAHEP accredited medical assisting programs are eligible to sit for the AAMA Certification Examination and earn the AAMA credential of Certified Medical Assistant® (CMA-AAMA). Accreditation is designed to stimulate self-improvement by providing a review of the program based on student outcomes.
The accreditation process involves the program and the Medical Assisting Education Review Board (MAERB), a Committee on Accreditation (CoA) of the Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), in reviewing the medical assisting programs to determine if the criteria set forth in the Standards and Guidelines for Accreditation of Educational Programs in Medical Assisting and the relevant CAAHEP and MAERB Policies. If the MAERB determines that a program does meet these criteria, a recommendation for accreditation is forwarded to CAAHEP. CAAHEP is the accreditor and makes the final decision on accreditation status.
Institutions and programs are responsible for providing to the MAERB clear, accurate and complete information regarding the curriculum and personnel in the program. Involvement of key faculty and administrators in the review process are essential to gain full benefit of the process. The Self-Study consists of an Excel Self-Study Report (SSR) and various attachments, each identified in the SSR.
The Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP), via the MAERB, is responsible for assigning an accreditation team that is well-informed and prepared to determine that the Standards are being consistently applied within the program. In programmatic accreditation, the primary focus is on the curriculum and instruction, including assessment of student learning, and the resulting outcomes of students and graduates. These include, but are not limited to, retention/graduation, job placement, and credentialing success, as well as employer and graduate satisfaction.
Working together, the institutions, programs, MAERB and CAAHEP are responsible for providing useful evaluation through cooperation and open exchange of issues and concerns in creative variations for accreditation, and for promoting efficient use of resources.
Initial accreditation is granted for five (5) years and expires at that time unless CAAHEP grants continuing accreditation to the program. Programs are provided reports by the MAERB on the status of their initial accreditation throughout the five (5) years. If the program is granted continuing accreditation, the next comprehensive review would be no later than five years after the granting of continuing, ten (10) years after the granting of initial accreditation. Continuing accreditation is granted for a maximum of ten (10) years without a comprehensive review. However, a program could receive an earlier review at the discretion of the MAERB, based on the program's continued compliance with the Standards.
Appendix A of the CAAHEP 2008 Standards and Guidelines for Accreditation of Educational Programs for Medical Assistants identifies sponsoring institution/program responsibilities for maintaining accreditation. These include:
- Notifying the MAERB and CAAHEP of changes in the chief executive officer, dean of health professions or equivalent position, and required program personnel. Required program personnel for medical assisting programs include the program director, practicum coordinator and qualified faculty.
- Notification of changes in the CEO and dean or equivalent can be made via letter or email and must include the name, credentials, title, and contact information - land and email addresses, telephone and fax numbers.
- Notification of program director changes, practicum changes (addition or replacement) and faculty must be made in compliance with MAERB Policy 3.3 for program director, 3.2 for practicum coordinator, or 3.3 for faculty.
- Notifying the MAERB and CAAHEP of a transfer in sponsorship for a program.
- The current sponsor must submit a letter, signed by the CEO or designee, of the intent to relinquish sponsorship of the program.
- The new sponsor must submit the "Request for Transfer of Sponsorship Services" form, available at www.caahep.org.
- The new sponsor must comply with MAERB Policy 3.5 in supplying required documentation.
- Informing the MAERB and CAAHEP of any adverse decisions affecting institutional accreditation by the recognized accreditor or state regulatory agency.
- Paying CAAHEP and MAERB fees when due.
- Filing all reports in the time frame established (self-study report, progress reports, annual reports etc.)
- Working with Accreditation Department staff and the MAERB to establish a reasonable on-site visit date that allows sufficient time for processing within the comprehensive review period.
Failure to meet any of these administrative requirements may result in administrative probation and ultimately to withdrawal of accreditation. Fines may also be incurred for failure to meet any of the requirements.