How is COE different from, or similar to, the accrediting body for dentistry?

Q: How is COE different from, or similar to, the accrediting body for dentistry (CODA)?

A: The Commission on Dental Accreditation is a semi-autonomous agency of the American Dental Association.  The duties of CODA as noted in the ADA Bylaws ensure that CODA has full autonomy related to its accreditation program and process; in this regard, CODA and the COE are similarly governed.

The COE budget is prepared by AVMA staff based on the expenses incurred the previous year and the number of site visits scheduled. It is approved by the AVMA Board of Directors.  However, the Board of Directors has placed no limit on expenditures related to accreditation activities of the Council and has paid all outside legal and consultant fees without restriction. Similarly, CODA’s budget is prepared by CODA staff, reviewed and approved by the ADA Board of Trustees with final approval by the ADA House of Delegates.  The ADA charges accreditation fees to help defray the cost of accreditation.

CODA has authority to modify its Evaluation and Operational Policies and Procedures Manual (CODA’s version of the COE’s P&P Manual) in all matters related to the accreditation program, e.g. accreditation standards, accreditation policies and procedures, and the appeal process.  CODA’s Rules of Operation, included in the CODA Evaluation and Operational Procedures Manual, which describe the Commission’s mission, composition, powers, duties, meetings, quorum, appeal board, accreditation program, and officers may be changed through submission of a resolution, and achieve a majority approval vote, through the ADA House of Delegates.  The COE, like the CODA, has complete autonomy to change the standards of accreditation and its policies and procedure without approval from the AVMA Board of Directors or AVMA House of Delegates.  Its charge and structure are described in the AVMA Bylaws.

The 2008 ADA Task force on CODA Report and Recommendations stated that benchmarking revealed "that CODA is less autonomous in regard to the ADA than other agencies are to their sponsoring organizations."

It is correct that a white paper, published by CODA in August 2014, discussed a potential transition to an independent agency under ADA Bylaws, as part of a strategic planning process; however, there are no immediate plans for separation from the ADA as CODA is still in the discovery phase.