Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

The IAC is fully staffed with knowledgeable technical and support professionals who are ready to answer any questions you may have while completing the application for accreditation. Below is a listing of some of the most frequently asked questions:

Don't see the question you were looking for below? Contact the IAC staff for assistance.

General Accreditation Questions:

What is the first step to beginning the accreditation process?

When applying for first-time accreditation or reaccreditation, the first step toward success is a review of the Standards by every member of the staff. Visit the Standards section to review and download the current Standards. To assist you in preparing your application and to learn more about the complete accreditation process, review the accreditation checklist at intersocietal.org/echo/seeking/getting_started.htm.

Why does the IAC program for echocardiography accreditation no longer go by ICAEL?

Resulting from the culmination of extensive research of the needs of facilities seeking accreditation, the IAC renamed its then six individual accrediting divisions in February 2012 and implemented multiple enhancements to streamline the process. IAC Echocardiography was previously the Intersocietal Commission for the Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL). Read the official press release»

What is the cost of IAC Echocardiography accreditation?

Access to IAC Online Accreditation is free of charge. Applicant facilities are charged the accreditation fee, due at the time of application submission. The one-time accreditation fee is $1,500 for adult transthoracic, $250 for adult TEE, $250 for adult stress, $1,500 for pediatric transthoracic, $250 for pediatric TEE and $250 for fetal. For more information, visit the Accreditation Fee section»

Can my lab be accredited only in TEE (adult or pediatric facilities) and/or stress echocardiography (adult facilities)?

In order to achieve accreditation for TEE or stress echocardiography, all facilities are required to be accredited in transthoracic echocardiography. For more information, visit the Accreditation Fee section»

Can my facility be accredited in fetal echocardiography only?

Yes, in a maternal-fetal practice, the facility may apply for accreditation in fetal echocardiography only. However, in order to achieve accreditation for fetal echocardiography in a pediatric cardiology practice, the facility must apply for (or be accredited in) transthoracic echocardiography.

How do I calculate the fee for a multiple site facility?

The fee for each additional multiple site is $1,200 per site for sites 2-3; $960 per site for sites 4-10 (20% discount); $750 per site for each site over 10. The fee may be paid by credit card online or check mailed at the time of application submission. To access the calculator, visit the Accreditation Fee section»

How do I add a multiple site or a testing area to our accreditation?

Accredited facilities wanting to add a multiple site must submit the completed Multiple Site Supplemental Application, the required case study and report, and the fee. To learn more, please visit intersocietal.org/echo/main/multiple_sites.htm.

If an accredited facility wishes to add an additional testing area to their current accreditation, the testing area forms must be completed and submitted with any required case studies or other documentation. As well, the facility will be required to pay the fees associated with adding a testing area. To learn more, please visit
intersocietal.org/echo/accredits/adding_testing_area.htm.

What is the pre-submission case check procedure?

The pre-submission check is initiated by the facility after the application questionnaire is completed but prior to the final application submission. For complete details, please visit intersocietal.org/echo/seeking/casecheck.htm.

What does the facility need to send (via traceable mail {i.e., UPS, FedEx}) to the IAC when submitting an application for accreditation?

Upon e-mail approval of the pre-submission case check process by the IAC, the facility must send one copy of each case study (on CD, DVD or thumb drive) and the appropriate payment (if paying by check). The submission and review process can begin prior to the IAC receiving the check,  however, a decision will not be issued until all fees have been paid.

How long does the IAC accreditation review process take?

Upon a facility's final application submission to the IAC, the application is imported into the database. Facilities have five days to submit the case studies, IAC Accreditation Agreement (if modified) and fee (if paid by check). The accreditation review process and the rendering of the decision usually takes approximately 8 to 12 weeks to complete. For details on complete review process, visit the Application Review section»

Our current accreditation is expiring soon. Can we receive our decision sooner than 8 to 12 weeks?

Yes, facilities have the option through the Online Accreditation application to select an expedited application review. Additional non-refundable fees will apply. The facility will be required to agree to the terms and conditions of the expedited process. If the complete application is submitted by the first business day of the month, the application will be processed, reviewed and an accreditation decision rendered within six weeks (Please refer to Page 5 of the IAC Policies and Procedures for additional information).

Are all accredited facilities required to undergo a random site visit or random audit?

Yes, in an effort to further substantiate continued compliance by accredited facilities and in response to the requirements sanctioned by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) for CMS appointed Accreditation Organizations as part of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act (MIPPA), the IAC has implemented a policy requiring all accredited facilities to undergo an audit or site visit at some time during their three-year accreditation period. Read more about Random Site Visits and Audits»

I received your letter stating that our accreditation was delayed. How can I determine exactly what was missing in our original application?

First, you should review the Application Review Findings (found on the decision correspondence icon in the Online Accreditation portal) for detailed comments about each aspect of your application. Note that although the reviewers try to specify each area of non-compliance, you must ultimately use the Standards as your source of information on IAC requirements. Next, read the specific Standards that were identified in the letter with the reason(s) for the delay; your application submission did not demonstrate substantial compliance to these Standards. You should review the cases, reports, protocols, etc. that you submitted with your application to determine why they did not meet the Standards.

Online Application Questions:

Is there a time limit to completion once I begin working on my Online Accreditation application?

No, accessing IAC Online Accreditation for the first time does not obligate the facility to complete the Online Accreditation application within any given period of time. Access to Online Accreditation and your account is good for the life of your facility. However, there may be updates to the application questionnaire from time to time.

How do I upload my documents into the Online Accreditation application?

Applicant facilities are required to upload and submit all attachments electronically. Facilities may scan the documents in and save them to a local computer or save them to another storage device for upload. Many file types may be uploaded from the computer or storage device to the appropriate attachment questions in the application questionnaire. For additional information, visit the Attachments section.

How may I review my uploaded documents?

After uploading a file to an attachment question in the questionnaire, a new link called “Previously Uploaded Document” will appear. Select this link to view the file you uploaded. Occasionally, security settings prevent users from opening documents easily. To view a document, you may be having difficulty with, hold down the control key on your keyboard and do not release the control button until the document opens; then select the link “Previously Uploaded Document."

How do I print the questionnaire questions from my online application?

A downloadable PDF of the application questions and answers is available on the Applications tab. Proceed to the Applications tab, click on the Available Actions icon and when the Tools page displays, click the Download PDF Questionnaire button.

How do I obtain a printout of the active staff list from my online application?

A spreadsheet of all active staff may be downloaded either from the Applications page Online Tools Available Actions icon or from the Manage Staff tab of the Account Profile. Click on the wrench icon and when the tools page displays, select Staff Information from the drop-down and click the Download Application Information button. The click to download active staff list link is located on the Manage Staff tab of the Account Profile.

Case Study Questions:

Do we have to send a case to represent each sonographer and each reading physician in our facility?

The number of cases required from a particular facility is based on the total number of sonographers and interpreting physicians. However, the number of staff members in your facility may exceed your required number of cases, so there may be staff members listed on your application for whom no cases are submitted. Please try not to duplicate performing sonographer or interpreting physician until all staff have been represented.

Do we list our part-time and PRN sonographers and readers on our application?

On your application, you must include all staff members who are a part of your facility at the time of application submission. However, you may omit staff members from your application only if annual volume of cases performed/interpreted is (see below).

ADULT:
TTE – If less than 50 cases performed/interpreted.
TEE – If less than 10 cases performed/interpreted.
Stress – If less than 25 cases performed/interpreted.

PEDIATRIC:
TTE – If less than 50 cases performed/interpreted.
TEE – If less than 1 case performed/interpreted.
Fetal – Anyone performing/interpreting fetal studies in the facility must be included on the application.

Is there a Standard for the number of echoes a sonographer should complete per day, or an average time that should be allotted per study?

The IAC does not have a Standard for how many echocardiograms are to be performed by sonographers in the course of a day. The Standard for scheduling states that 45 to 60 minutes (or more) must be allotted for a complete echocardiogram (Adult Transthoracic, Transesophageal and Stress Echocardiogram; and Pediatric Transthoracic and Transesophageal) from patient encounter with the sonographer to patient departure from the facility. The scheduled time for an uncomplicated, complete fetal study, must be at least 30 (up to 60) minutes.

Do I need to delete all patient identifiers for the studies?

No, please do not remove any patient identifiers. The Accreditation Agreement has a Business Associate clause that covers the HIPAA regulations.

Can the sonographers give any preliminary study information to the referring doctor, patient’s nurse, the patient or the medical chart?

No, the sonographers may never give any preliminary information, comments, opinions, etc., verbal or written, to anyone except the interpreting physician. This is tantamount to practicing medicine without a license.

We can’t find enough positive stress echoes to submit. What do we do instead?

Any one of the following types of cases is acceptable for submission: abnormal wall motion at rest, inducible wall motion abnormality with stress or a stress case using contrast (may be normal or abnormal). You may choose cases performed up to 36 months before the application submission date.

Staff / CME Requirement Questions:

What is the process to change the Medical or Technical Director?

The facility is required to update their online account information in the Manage Staff tab of the Online Accreditation portal. You may find complete instructions for changing the Medical or Technical Director in the Changes Within the Facility section»

What do we need to add a medical or technical staff member if we are already an accredited facility?

To add or deactivate staff during your three-year accreditation cycle, access the Online Accreditation account, go to the Manage Staff tab to proceed with the change. You may find complete instructions for changing the staff in the Changes Within the Facility section»

What is the definition of "staff"? Is it just sonographers or both sonographers and physicians?

Your "staff" consists of any sonographers who perform echocardiograms in the facility and any physicians that interpret echocardiograms for your facility.

What if a staff member quits before the application is filed?

A staff member who quits before the application is submitted must be deactivated in Manage Staff tab in Online Accreditation account. Do not use any cases performed/interpreted by a deactivated staff member. Note: If the application is already in process, please contact us for assistance.

Can the Technical Director serve as Director in more than one facility?

Yes, the Technical Director (TD) may serve as Technical Director in more than one facility. Please refer to the IAC Echocardiography Standards, Part 1.2.A.

How many CME credits do the staff members need for reaccreditation?

As outlined in the IAC Standards and Guidelines for Echocardiography Accreditation, part of the criteria for achieving echocardiography accreditation is the fulfillment of certain Continuing Medical Education (CME) requirements by facility staff members. To view the complete requirements, visit the CME Resources section.

Quality Improvement Questions:

What are the IAC Echocardiography overall Quality Improvement (QI) Program requirements?

The IAC Echocardiography accreditation program is comprised of several separate, yet integrated aspects of QI in the facility. The focus and goal of these components collectively is to provide quality patient care. For complete QI requirements, refer to the
IAC Standards for Echocardiography Accreditation, Part C: Quality Improvement.

Does the IAC offer any resources to assist our facility with meeting the new QI program requirements?

Yes, in May 2016 the IAC launched the Quality Improvement (QI) Self-Assessment Tool. Created to help your facility employ and document continuous process improvement, the IAC QI Self-Assessment Tool provides facilities with a mechanism for meeting the quality measures required by each IAC diagnostic imaging accreditation program (Vascular Testing, Echocardiography, Nuclear/PET, MRI and CT). Now included as part of IAC’s Online Accreditation portal, the new QI tool provides participating facilities a data-driven, objective measure of their QI progress for use in complying with the IAC Standards and Guidelines for Accreditation and fulfilling a variety of facility quality initiatives. To access the new IAC QI Tool, login to your Online Accreditation account and click on the Quality Improvement tab from the top menu to launch the Quality Improvement (QI) Self-Assessment Tool. To learn more about the tool, please visit intersocietal.org/QITool.

In addition, the IAC also offers a sample QI policy, sample QI evaluation forms and sample QI meeting minutes to help in meeting the QI requirements as detailed in the Standards. The sample documents meet or exceed the requirements of the Standards, and they may be used to develop facility policies and reporting forms, whether your facility is seeking accreditation or simply working to standardize or improve current practices. Please note: These documents are samples, any policies or protocols submitted with the application must be customized to reflect current practices of the facility. To download these samples, please visit the sample documents section»

In a facility with only one physician, does a facility need to document physician interpretive quality review?

Yes, the interpreting physician must re-read studies (a minimum of two cases per modality {TTE, TEE, SE} per quarter) without access to the original report, and compare the results with the original interpretation. Differences in interpretation must be reconciled to achieve consistency.

Marketing Questions:

Do you have a logo I can put on my website and/or reports to show that my facility is accredited by IAC?

Yes! Each of the IAC programs have a unique Seal of Accreditation for use by accredited facilities. The seal is available in color and black and white and is specific to the testing area your facility is accredited in (vascular testing, echocardiography, nuclear/PET, MRI, CT, dental CT, carotid stenting, vein center and/or cardiac electrophysiology).

To download the Seal of Accreditation for your facility: please login to your Online Accreditation account (www.iaconlineaccreditation.org); select the Applications tab at the top; and scroll down and click on the yellow star icon located next to your granted application under Available Actions. Please note: The yellow star will only appear once your facility has been granted accreditation. Need help downloading or using the Seal of Accreditation? E-mail the IAC marketing team for assistance or login to your Online Accreditation account (www.iaconlineaccreditation.org) and click on the live chat to talk with us live! Just be sure to select Seal of Accreditation/Marketing under request type and we’d be happy to help you!

What are some other ways I can market my facility's accreditation?

Once a facility is granted accreditation, they often ask what they can do to promote this enormous achievement for their facility. There are a variety of resources offered by the IAC to assist your facility in promoting your accreditation achievement.

The marketing opportunities are endless, but each IAC accredited facility receives several marketing tools to help get them started including: an electronic Seal of Accreditation to use on reports, website, etc.; a sample press release to distribute announcing their accreditation achievement; two certificates and two accreditation decals to display in their facility; one complimentary embroidered patch and one complimentary lapel pin.

For more information about these materials and how to use them, visit the Marketing Tools section»