Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute Awarded Six Year Accreditation with Commendation

Accreditation with Commendation

Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute receives Accreditation with Commendation
(Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education) produced an Accreditation with Commendation
emblem that is included on the accreditation certificate sent to those ACCME-accredited providers that
achieve Accreditation with Commendation. Overall, approximately 21% of ACCME-accredited providers that
have been evaluated under the Accreditation Criteria have achieved Accreditation with Commendation.
1The ACCME encourages CME providers to celebrate their success in achieving Accreditation with Commendation by informing their community, stakeholders, and the public. In addition, the Accreditation with Commendation emblem may be used by only ACCME-accredited providers. State-accredited providers may not use this emblem.

On April 5, 2013, Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute announced that they had been resurveyed by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) and awarded Accreditation with Commendation for six (6) years as a provider of continuing medical education for physicians.

ACCME accreditation seeks to assure the medical community and the public that Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute provides physicians with relevant, effective, practice-based continuing medical education that that supports US health care quality improvement.

The ACCME employs a rigorous, multilevel process for evaluating institutions’ continuing medical education programs according to the high accreditation standards adopted by all seven ACCME member organizations. These organizations of medicine in the US are the American Board of Medical Specialties, the American Hospital Association, the American Medical Association, the Association for Hospital Medical Education, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, and the Federation of State Medical Boards of the US, Inc.

The ACCME is accountable to the public for setting and maintaining accreditation requirements designed to ensure that CME accredited within the ACCME system is based on valid content, is free from commercial influence or bias, and contributes to the quality and safety of health care. As the US health care system continues to evolve, the ACCME will respond by making changes to its requirements or processes that are necessary to assure that CME serves the best interests of the public.

The ACCME’s mission is the identification, development, and promotion of standards for quality continuing medical education (CME) utilized by physicians in their maintenance of competence and incorporation of new knowledge to improve quality medical care for patients and their communities2.

The ACCME accreditation system is based on a model of self-regulation, peer evaluation, and quality assurance. The ACCME has a rigorous, multilevel process for making accreditation and reaccreditation decisions. These decisions are determined through a review by two ACCME committees: first, the Accreditation Review Committee, and second, the Decision Committee of the Board of Directors. All accreditation decisions are then ratified by the full Board of Directors. Throughout the process, the ACCME staff members provide support and guidance to committee members. This multi-tiered process provides the checks and balances necessary to ensure fair and accurate decisions. The ACCME implements quality-control measures to ensure that accreditation decisions are consistent and impartial.

Accredited providers are reviewed every four or six years. Each year, the ACCME reviews approximately 200 CME providers, representing about 30 percent of the provider pool. As another measure of accountability, the ACCME has a Process for Handling Complaints Regarding ACCME-Accredited Providers to respond to complaints from the public and the CME community about ACCME-accredited providers’ compliance with accreditation requirements. If an accredited provider’s compliance is called into question, either through the complaints process or another means, the ACCME may initiate monitoring procedures in addition to the standard accreditation review process.

As the health care environment evolves, the ACCME responds by taking steps to increase the transparency and accountability of the ACCME accreditation system, to strengthen the requirements concerning CME’s independence from commercial influence, and to accelerate the enforcement of those requirements3.

Why CME Accreditation is Important

The fields of science and medicine never stop moving forward—and neither should physicians. Whether physicians work in clinical care, research, health care administration, or other areas of medicine, accredited CME is tailored to their needs and their patients’ needs. Accredited CME addresses every medical specialty, covering the full range of topics important to health care improvement. Here are just a few examples: medical errors prevention, chronic disease treatment, cancer care, women’s health, children’s health, veterans care, physician-family communication skills, and prescription drug abuse prevention.

Participation in accredited CME helps physicians meet requirements for maintenance of licensure, maintenance of specialty board certification, credentialing, membership in professional societies, and other professional privileges4.


  1. June 28, 2012, Tamar Hosansky,


ARDMS Announces Windowed Administration for the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) Credentialing Examination

ARDMS Announces Windowed Administration for the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation (RPVI) Credentialing Examination

RPVI_Windowed_Administration_Press_Release(ROCKVILLE, MD, February 22, 2013) The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography® (ARDMS®) announced today that the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation® (RPVI®) credentialing examination will be offered during select windowed administration periods with the first window administration to begin in November, 2013. Beginning in year 2014, the PVI examination will be offered during two one-month windows each year. The PVI examination will no longer be available on demand year-round. Scores for each window examination period will be available approximately sixty (60) days after the period ends. The last day to apply for on demand testing is May 31, 2013.

The chart below details the administration and application dates. The RPVI section of the ARDMS website also displays this information and allows interested parties to request reminder e-mails for application periods and examination administration dates.

RPVI Examination Administration Dates Application Dates
Present – On Demand Testing Applications accepted through May 31, 2013
November 14 – December 16, 2013 August 14 – October 14, 2013
April 9 – May 13, 2014 January 9 – March 10, 2014
November 12 – December 16, 2014 August 12 – October 13, 2014

The RPVI credential, exclusively for physicians, validates the clinical expertise fundamental for vascular ultrasound interpretation and provides recognition of the skills and knowledge required to make consistent and accurate diagnoses in vascular disease.

Offering the examination during two windowed test administrations per year will assure that the quality and rigor of the RPVI credentialing examination is maintained. Additionally, windowed administrations will allow for progressive testing technologies and questions to be embedded within the assessment as developed by physician subject matter experts in the practice of vascular ultrasound.

Beginning in 2014, earning the RPVI credential will be a requirement to sit for the American Board of Surgery’s Vascular Surgery Qualifying Examination.  Additionally, the RPVI credential is required for completion of many vascular surgery fellowship programs.

“The need for a quality RPVI examination, aligned with primary medical Board recognitions and post medical residency fellowship program requirements demonstrates that employers, insurance companies and the sonography community are placing a high value on RPVI certification,” said Colleen Moore, MD, Chair of the ARDMS PVI Examination Development Task Force. “The certification demonstrates the depth of knowledge, proven experience and a commitment held to patient care.”

For more information about the RPVI credential, please visit


The American Registry for Diagnostic Medical Sonography® (ARDMS®), incorporated in June 1975, is an independent, nonprofit organization that administers examinations and awards credentials in the areas of musculoskeletal sonography, diagnostic medical sonography, diagnostic cardiac sonography, vascular technology and physician vascular interpretation. ARDMS credentialing programs (RDMS, RDCS, RVT and RPVI) are accredited by ANSI-ISO 17024 and the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA). ARDMS has nearly 80,000 certified individuals in the U.S., Canada, and throughout the world and is the recognized international standard in sonography credentialing.


ARDMS. ARDMS Announces Windowed Administration for the Registered Physician in Vascular Interpretation Credentialing Examination.
ARDMS. Published Feb 22nd, 2013. Accessed April 12, 2013.


Ultrasound Registry Preparation Frustration?
Help is on the way!

Preparing for the ARDMS, CCI, or ASRT ultrasound certification examination can be quite intimidating.  Coordinating work, family, and personal activities around study time can be an overwhelming experience that leads to procrastination and last minute scrambling.

The 12-Step Plan to Registry Examination Success!

Proper Ultrasound Registry exam Prep will help you succeed

  1. Adequate preparation requires a minimum of 3 months study time (6 months ideal) and is essential to your stress-free success.
  2. Review other personal and work commitments to schedule an exam date that will allow sufficient time to effectively prepare.
  3. Review the ARDMS, CCI, or ASRT ultrasound examination outlines and divide your study time according to the number of segments and percentage weights assigned to each category.
  4. Assign study sections in 1-2 hour increments each day that corresponds with a study completion date approximately 1-2 weeks prior to the exam date.
  5. Schedule your study time when it will not interfere with other important commitments (before work, after work, after kids are in bed etc).
  6. Purchase study materials designed to prepare you for the exam.  Consider attending an ultrasound registry review to identify areas of weakness to more effectively coordinate your study plan of action.
  7. Quiz yourself after each section.  Further study will be required for identified areas of weakness.
  8. 21-30 days prior to the exam date, participate in a mock examination in a timed setting to assess ability to answer questions in an appropriate length of time and undergo a final assessment of areas that require further study.
  9. Complete final review and/or attend a registry review workshop.
  10. Upon completion of the scheduled and structured study time…relax. Do Not review any material within 1 week of the exam.  This will only create more anxiety.
  11. Do not drink alcohol the day before the exam and go to bed at a reasonable hour to ensure a restful night sleep.
  12. Go into the exam confident that you have completed a structured study plan and you are prepared to take and pass the exam!

Advanced planning will ensure your registry success in a stress-free manner.

Resources for Study Success:

Ultrasound Lab Accreditation 101

By: Trisha Reo, RVT, RDMS

Achieving and maintaining accreditation status

Accredited Lab for SonographyAs the Technical Director of Vascular Ultrasound Services at my facility, I have personally experienced the tedious processes of achieving and maintaining accreditation status. Achieving vascular lab accreditation status in ultrasound requires compliance with requirements regarding ultrasound image quality and consistency, exam protocols, quality assurance and continuing medical education. In my professional opinion, ultrasound lab accreditation is a necessary evil that ensures quality diagnostic care and improves patient outcomes. Professional societies, such as the SDMS, agree that accreditation is a staple of a quality diagnostic ultrasound lab (here is the link to an excellent article on accreditation). Although this process can be overwhelming if you are new to it, the ultrasound resources you need to be successful are readily available to you. Read on for some hints and helpful suggestions to get you better prepared.

Five Steps to a Successful Accreditation Application:

  1. Download or request a copy of the application requirements (visit AIUM, ACR, or Intersocietal ). This is your road map. Review it, learn it, know it, and follow it! If you do each step in this application, you are on the road to success!
  2. Download and implement the suggested professional ultrasound exam guidelines from the website of the organization you are applying for accreditation with. If you have any trouble locating these guidelines, call the organization and ask for assistance in obtaining these. And remember, these are suggested ultrasound protocols! You do not have to follow them verbatim but your protocol should at least include the listed ultrasound images.
  3. Designate a physician to be your lab’s Medical Director and involve them. It is important to seek and consider their professional opinion throughout this process!
  4. Communicate the ultrasound guidelines, CME requirements and expectations during this process to your technical staff. This will alleviate any confusion they may have about the changes the department is making. Have multiple CME resources available to them to encourage compliance. Visit Gulfcoast Ultrasound Institute for access to multiple online and textbook CME resources.
  5. Submit an application that reflects only your best work and be sure it is organized. Remember, the application you submit will represent your facility and department, so make sure your application highlights your labs strengths and abilities!

Performing a Venous Imaging scanFollow the above steps and you are on your way to achieving ultrasound lab accreditation! There is nothing easy about this process but, it is well worth the hard work you will put into it.

Don’t be afraid to call or email the organization you are seeking accreditation from if you have any questions or find yourself lost during the process. They are there to help you in any way they can.

Good luck and happy scanning!