Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
1. What is the Liaison Committee on Medical Education?
2. Why is accreditation important?
3. Does the LCME Rank medical schools according to quality?
4. What does the LCME accreditation process focus on?
5. What is the expected outcome of an LCME survey visit?
6. What is the purpose of LCME accreditation?
7. How often is my medical school reviewed by the LCME?
8. Does the LCME just evaluate the medical curriculum or does the LCME examine all aspects of medical education?
9. What criteria does the LCME use to determine accreditation status?
What is the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)?
The Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) is the nationally recognized accrediting authority for medical education programs leading to the M.D. degree in U.S. and Canadian medical schools. The LCME is sponsored by the Association of American Medical Colleges and the American Medical Association. In the United States, the accreditation status of programs leading to the M.D. degree is determined solely by the LCME.
Why is accreditation important?
Accreditation signifies that national standards for structure, function, and performance are met by a medical school's education program leading to the M.D. degree. LCME accreditation establishes eligibility for selected federal grants and programs, including Title VII funding administered by the Public Health Service. Students and graduates of LCME-accredited medical schools are eligible to take the United States Medical Licensing Examination (USMLE). These graduates also have eligibility to enter residencies approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME). Graduating from an LCME-accredited U.S. school and passing the national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisites for medical licensure in most states.
Does the LCME rank medical schools according to quality?
Medical schools are not ranked by the LCME, which evaluates educational programs according to standards for organization, function, and performance, but does not attempt to stratify institutions according to their characteristics. Medical schools differ greatly: whether they are private or state-supported, free-standing, or part of a parent university. They differ in their dependence on state appropriations, tuition, and income from clinical services and research; their relative emphasis on teaching, research, and medical practice; the size of their faculties and enrollments; the scope of their research and production of future scientists and teachers; and their emphasis on primary care and the training of future community physicians. While the quality of education is partly determined by the organization of programs and adequacy of resources, it also depends on the dedication of the faculty to teaching and to creating an environment conducive to learning. These and other important attributes may be obscured by efforts to rank schools by such variables as their size and the reputation of the faculty, level of research funding, or clinical facilities.
What does the LCME accreditation process focus on?
The LCME accreditation process examines 5 key focus areas of a medical institution:
Institutional Setting (IS)
Education Program leading to a MD degree (ED)
Medical Students (MS)
Educational Resources (ER)
What is the expected outcome of an LCME survey visit?
The LCME’s obligation to the public is to ensure that accredited programs comply with all of its accreditation standards. Because the LCME has a very large number of standards (129, as of July 2010) that cover a broad range of issues, it is common for a school to be judged as less than fully compliant with a small number of standards after an accreditation review. In such cases, the school has a maximum of 24 months to achieve full compliance with all standards. Because accreditation is also a quality improvement process, a desirable outcome of an LCME survey visit is strong concurrence between the findings of the survey team and the institutional self-study (and the independent student analysis). The greater the congruence between the team and self-study findings, the more strongly the school’s achievements, challenges, goals, and priorities, as reflected in the self-study, will be validated by peer external experts looking at the same information.
What is the purpose of LCME accreditation?
The core purposes of the LCME are to provide assurance to the public, including current and potential students, that accredited medical education programs meet or exceed accepted national standards for quality, and also to promote institutional self-evaluation and ongoing improvement in the quality of medical education programs.
How often is my medical school reviewed by the LCME?
The standard term of accreditation is eight years. If significant problems are identified after a school’s full accreditation review, the LCME may continue accreditation until a limited survey is conducted to determine how the school has addressed its problems. Limited surveys typically take place within two years of the full review. If the school has made satisfactory progress or fully resolved its problems, accreditation will be continued for the balance of the eight-year term. In rare cases, the LCME may shorten the term of accreditation.
Does the LCME just evaluate the medical curriculum or does the LCME examine all aspects of medical education?
LCME assessment is based on its accreditation standards, which cover five major topics: Institutional Setting, Educational Program Leading to the M.D. Degree, Medical Students, Faculty, and Educational Resources.
What criteria does the LCME use to determine accreditation status?
The LCME’s review of the medical school will assess the accreditation standards according to the following criteria:
Institutional Strengths: Accreditation standard is notably exceeded
Institutional Noncompliance: Accreditation standard is partially or substantially noncompliant
Transitional: Accreditation standard is in compliance, but transitional issues raise concerns for potential risk of future noncompliance
Note: The LCME FAQ was compiled using source documents from LCME.org