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U.S. Department of Education

Staff Report
to the
Senior Department Official
on
Recognition Compliance Issues

RECOMMENDATION PAGE

1.
Agency:   Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (1955/2016)
                  (The dates provided are the date of initial listing as a recognized agency and the date of the agency’s last grant of recognition.)
 
2.
Action Item:   Compliance Report
 
3.
Current Scope of Recognition:   The accreditation of institutions and programs of nurse anesthesia at the post master`s certificate, master`s, or doctoral degree levels in the United States, and its territories, including programs offering distance education.
 
4.
Requested Scope of Recognition:   Same as above.
 
5.
Date of Advisory Committee Meeting:   December, 2015
 
6.
Staff Recommendation:   Renew the agency's recognition for two and one-half years
 
7.
Issues or Problems:   None


EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

 
 

PART I: GENERAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE AGENCY

 
The Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs (COA)accredits institutions and programs that prepare nurses to become practicing nurse anesthetists. The agency currently accredits 113 programs located in 37 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, which include 3 single purpose freestanding institutions

The agency’s accredited hospital-based programs and institutions participate in Title IV, HEA programs and therefore the agency must meet the Secretary’s separate and independent requirements or seek a waiver. Accredited programs also use the agency’s recognition to participate in non-HEA programs that include the Department of Health and Human Services grants in advanced nurse education and eligibility to participate in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps and in the U.S. Department of Defense programs.

 
 
Recognition History
 
The COA is both a programmatic and institutional accrediting agency. Nurse anesthesia programs have been accredited since 1952. At that time, accrediting activities were conducted by the Committee on Accreditation of the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists (AANA).

The AANA was first recognized as a national accrediting agency in 1955. The accrediting activities of AANA were transferred in 1975 to a new semiautonomous Council on Accreditation (COA) of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs. It was this organization that was reviewed for recognition in 1976 as the agency that accredits nurse anesthesia programs. The COA became an autonomous body in 1978.

The agency’s most recent full review for recognition was in the spring of 2007, at which time the agency’s recognition was renewed for a period of five years and it was granted an expansion of its scope of recognition to include distance education and to modify its scope to include (territories). At the same time the NACIQI requested that the agency provide an interim report, by May 31, 2008, addressing the COA’s need to provide evidence of the Council’s adoption of its revised annual report policies and procedures for monitoring its programs’ compliance with its student achievement standards. While the COA was scheduled to appear before the NACIQI in the fall of 2008, due to the passage of HEOA, the NACIQI did not meet. In January 2010, as a result of new regulations effective July 1, 2010, the agency was requested to update its interim report and to also address the new regulatory requirements of 602.19. At the NACIQI's December 2010 meeting the agency presented its interim report and the NACIQI accepted the report. The agency's petition for continued recognition is the subject of this report.

The COA appeared before the NACIQI at its December 2013 meeting with its petition for continued recognition. The NACIQI recommended to the Secretary that he continue the agency's recognition and require the agency to come into compliance within 12 months, and submit a compliance report that demonstrates the agency's compliance with the issues identified below.

-- The agency needs to revise its policies to identify situations where changes will be extensive enough to fundamentally change the institution, which would cause the agency to require a new comprehensive evaluation of the whole institution. [§602.22(a)(3)]

-- The agency needs to provide documentation demonstrating that the Secretary and other entities listed in this requirement were notified at the same time as the institution/program of a negative accrediting decision. [§602.26(b)]

The agency's compliance report is the subject of this report.

The Department received no complaints this recognition cycle regarding this agency's accreditation activities



PART II: SUMMARY OF FINDINGS

 
§602.22 Substantive change.
(3) The agency's substantive change policy must define when the changes made or proposed by an institution are or would be sufficiently extensive to require the agency to conduct a new comprehensive evaluation of that institution.

 
The agency has provided its revised policy which define when changes made or proposed by an institution would be sufficiently extensive as to change the institution in an essential manner. The agency's revisions include specific identified situations where changes will be extensive enough to affect the nature of the educational program, its mission and objectives and the allocation of resources which would cause the agency to require comprehensive evaluation of the whole institution.

COA has notified the Department that it has not had the opportunity to apply the requirements of this section.

 

§602.26 Notification of accrediting decisions

(b) Provides written notice of the following types of decisions to the Secretary, the appropriate State licensing or authorizing agency, and the appropriate accrediting agencies at the same time it notifies the institution or program of the decision, but no later than 30 days after it reaches the decision:

(1) A final decision to place an institution or program on probation or an equivalent status.

(2) A final decision to deny, withdraw, suspend, revoke, or terminate the accreditation or preaccreditation of an institution or program;

(3) A final decision to take any other adverse action, as defined by the agency, not listed in paragraph (b)(2) of this section;

 
The agency provided its revised policies and procedures for notification to all the listed entities of negative actions.

The agency's policies provide for the notification to the Secretary, the appropriate State licensing or authorizing agency, and the appropriate accrediting agencies at the same time it notifies the institution or program of the decision, but no later than 30 days after it reaches the decision:

COA has notified the Department that it has not had the opportunity to apply the requirements of this section.



 
 

PART III: THIRD PARTY COMMENTS

 
The Department did not receive any written third-party comments regarding this agency.