Healthcare Associations Unify Graduate Medical Education

A newly proposed accreditation system will certify both MD and DO graduate medical education programs in an effort to provide doctors with a more uniform training experience.

To help streamline graduate medical education in the United States, several associations are proposing the creation of a single accreditation system for DO and MD educational programs.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, along with the American Osteopathic Association and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine, announced an agreement last week to create a process, format, and timetable for ACGME to certify the 1,000 osteopathic GME programs currently accredited by the AOA.

This approach would ensure that the evaluation and accountability for the competency of resident physicians are consistent across all programs.

The new system would create a cohesive certification system covering the more than 9,000 GME programs that ACGME currently accredits and the additional 1,000 DO programs. It is set to begin in July 2015.

“This would provide physicians in the United States with a uniform path of preparation for practice,” Thomas Nasca, MD, MACP, chief executive officer of ACGME, said in statement. “This approach would ensure that the evaluation and accountability for the competency of resident physicians are consistent across all programs.”
The new system is also intended to alleviate some of the confusion DO graduates face when choosing a GME program by providing one list of available programs and residencies instead of two, said Stephen Shannon, DO, MPH, who is CEO of AACOM.

“Right now, after they graduate from college, DO graduates have three ways they can go to complete their training, get licensed, and get certified in a specialty,” Shannon said. “They can go into the AOA’s accredited residency program, for which there are a variety of programs from family medicine to psychiatry to neurosurgery; they can go into ACGME programs in the same specialties and even more—ACGME, being much larger, has a larger number of specialties and fellowship programs; or they can go into the AOA programs and then move into ACGME programs for ongoing training.”

This complicated system “makes it harder on the students who feel like they have to make the right decision,” Shannon added, and the anticipation is that the new accreditation system will create less of a “hodgepodge.”

On a less tangible level, ACGME’s agreement to accredit AOA programs “represents a historic acceptance of osteopathic graduate medical education,” according to AACOM.

Under the proposed new system, AOA and AACOM will become member organizations of the ACGME. The other five sponsoring organizations include: the American Medical Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, the American Hospital Association, the American Board of Medical Specialties, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies.


(TMG archive photo)

Katie Bascuas

By Katie Bascuas

Katie Bascuas is associate editor of Associations Now. MORE

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