Q. How long is the approval period?
A. If you are applying for approval of an individual educational activity, the approval period for the activity is two years from the activity start date.
If you are applying for provider approval, the approval period for the Approved Provider Unit is three years.
Q. What should I do if my agency decides not to pursue contact hour approval once an application has already been submitted?
A. An application can be withdrawn by the applicant at any time in the review process prior to the time a decision is made by the Midwest MSD Professional Development – Approver Unit review team. If the application is withdrawn during pre-review (prior to submission to the Midwest MSD reviewers), the application and fee will be returned minus administrative costs. Once the review is initiated (e.g., the application is sent to the reviewers) the fee is non-refundable. The withdrawn application will be returned to the provider.
Q. Must a provider whose majority of CE activities includes internet activities/enduring materials or other learner-paced activities being marketed to a nationwide audience apply directly to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)?
Q. May we distribute participant names and contact information to all conference attendees?
A. Since participant names and contact information are confidential, it is permitted only if you secure approval before the conference from individuals whose names are on the list. The registration form might include a question asking for this approval and providing an “opt out” checkbox for those who wish to deny permission.
Q. Are all educational activities of a staff development/continuing education department appropriate for nursing contact hours? What’s the difference between continuing education, in-service, and staff development?
In 2013 the Commission on Accreditation (COA) released a directive indicating that the COA will permit content that is provided through in-service and/or staff development activities to be eligible for awarding nursing contact hours.
The COA states they “believe there are significant learning opportunities for registered nurses that occur during in-service or staff development activities and therefore these should be eligible for awarding ANCC contact hours. To meet the educational needs of registered nurses and improve the care delivered to patients or clients, providers of continuing nursing education activities must have flexibility in choosing the format for education that meets the needs of diverse learners practicing in a variety of care settings. The COA believes that this change will permit providers to be better able to choose content that meets identified practice gaps based on needs assessment data for their target audiences.”
They go on to indicate that “Requirements for planning educational activities have not changed. Providers must develop educational activities that are designed to address a gap in knowledge, skills and/or practices for a specific target audience. All educational design criteria for continuing nursing education must be followed.”
Q. Has the definition of continuing education changed?
A. The current definition of continuing nursing education states:
“Those learning activities intended to build upon the educational and experiential bases of the professional RN for the enhancement of practice, education, administration, research, or theory development, to improve the health of the public and RN’s pursuit of their professional goals” (2015b). Please note, continuing nursing education is now also called nursing continuing professional development (NCPD).
Q. Who may award contact hours?
- ANCC Accredited Providers (who apply directly to ANCC).
- Approved Providers through approval through an ANCC Accredited Approver (such as the Midwest Multistate Division).
Those interested in achieving provider approval from an ANCC Accredited Approver must complete the eligibility verification process and meet all eligibility requirements. The Accredited Approver is responsible for ensuring that the applicant is eligible to apply.
- Applicants who have achieved two-year approval for an individual education activity through an ANCC Accredited Approver (such as the Midwest Multistate Division).
Those interested in submitting an NCPD activity for approval from an ANCC Accredited Approver must complete the eligibility verification process and submit an application to the Midwest MSD office at least 45 days prior to the date of the activity.
Ineligible companies/organizations are NOT eligible to provide contact hours.
Ineligible companies/organizations are defined as those whose primary business is producing, marketing, selling, re-selling, or distributing healthcare products used by or on patients.
Q. Can an ineligible company/organization apply for approval (that is to be an Approved Provider Unit)?
A. No. Nor can they apply to have their individual educational activities approved. However, the ANCC Nursing Skills Competency Program offers course accreditation for programs that utilize both knowledge-based testing and skill observation methods of participant outcomes in nursing skills.
Q. What is the value of ANCC accreditation status vs. California Board of Nursing approval? (It seems that other accreditation might be a cheaper and easier way to be approved)
A. The value of ANCC/Midwest MSD approval is that it is transferrable to a majority of states in the US and accepted by most of the State Boards of Nursing toward licensure requirements. Board of Nursing approval is not always transferrable outside of their state. More importantly, ANCC/Midwest MSD approval validates that high standards for quality continuing education have been met. Most advanced nursing certifications require nursing continuing professional development contact hours that have been awarded by an ANCC/Midwest MSD accredited entity.
Q: Please explain the rule regarding the boundaries for Approved Providers.
A. The boundary rule applies to Approved Providers only, not individual activity applicants.
An organization must limit their marketing promotion or advertisement of nursing continuing professional development (NCPD) to nurses in either their local DHHS region or a state contiguous to that single region to be eligible to seek Provider approval through an Accredited Approver such as the Midwest Multistate Division. A region is defined by US Department of Health and Human Services; (click here for HHS region map). Less than 50% of the organization’s programs are marketed to nurses outside of their region or a state contiguous to that region.
If an organization markets 50% or more of their programs to nurses outside of their region or a state contiguous to that region, regardless of the marketing method (Internet, flyers, print advertisement or similar), they are not eligible to apply for Approved Provider status through the Midwest MSD and must apply directly to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) to become an Accredited Provider.
The actual audience make up/participation (from local or multiple regions) does not determine whether the organization must apply to ANCC. How the organization markets its activities is the determining factor. The audience make up, however, may provide evidence for the Accredited Approver in order to make an appropriate decision. The marketing method also does not determine whether an organization must apply to ANCC but may provide additional evidence.
An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises them within a 5-hospital system using a web – based link on its intranet. Only nurses from the local state attend.
- Eligible to be an Approved Provider – marketing all activities to nurses within a local region
An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises 60 of them through a national publication. Only nurses from the local state attend.
- Not eligible to be an Approved Provider – marketing greater than 50% of activities to nurses in multiple regions.
An organization provides 100 activities annually and advertises 10 of them through a national database of CE activities. Nurses from multiple regions attend the 10 activities. Nurses from the local area attend the other 90 activities.
- Eligible to be an Approved Provider – marketing less than 50% of activities to nurses in multiple regions.
An organization provides 100 activities and only advertises in a small, local nursing publication. Nurses from the local area attend.
- Eligible to be an Approved Provider – marketing all activities to nurses within a local region.
An organization provides 100 activities annually and states that it advertises them only within a small, local nursing publication. Nurses from multiple regions attend.
- Would require further investigation. Nurses attending from multiple regions seem to contradict small, localized advertising.
Q. What is the reason for this rule?
A. There have been incidences of providers being denied by one approver who then go to a series of other approvers until they find one that will approve their activity. These come to our attention through complaints from participants. It is therefore more efficient and protects the participants if ANCC reviews and accredits all of the providers reaching the larger audiences, so that they can be monitored more closely.