Postgraduate Medical Program Accreditation And Probation StatusMedical Defense
After completing postgraduate medical school, medical students graduate as new doctors who are ready to train for medical specialty areas such as family medicine, surgery, or radiology. These new doctors typically become the residents at teaching hospitals across the United States. As residents, these doctors are able to acquire from four to six more years of intense, hands-on clinical education before they can eventually be certified for a medical specialty.
In cooperation with medical boards throughout the United States, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) sets educational and competency standards for residency programs and monitors the compliance of programs with those standards. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education is a non-profit organization that accredits medical residency and fellowship programs in the United States and the institutions that conduct those programs. The ACGME states that its mission is to “improve health care and population health by assessing and advancing the quality of resident physicians’ education through accreditation.”
HOW MANY PROGRAMS ARE REVIEWED BY THE ACGME?
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education offers accreditation to medical education programs and to institutions providing medical education to physicians who have finished medical school and who are now specializing in a specific medical field. In 2015-2016, about 10,000 residency and fellowship programs were accredited by the ACGME at approximately 800 educational institutions serving nearly 125,000 full-time and part-time residents and fellows. In 2017, of the active physicians in the United States, one in seven is a resident or fellow.
With an ongoing review process that includes research, collection, and evaluation of data, surveys, and site visits, the ACGME establishes standards for medical residency and fellowship programs and assesses each program’s compliance with those standards. One of twenty-eight specialty and subspecialty review committees receives data on all of the accredited or applicant programs in its particular medical field and then makes an accreditation determination for each. The ACGME believes it has established an accreditation model that encourages and rewards innovation and excellence in medical residency and fellowship programs in the United States.
HOW IMPORTANT IS ACCREDITATION?
When considering any medical education program, one of the most significant factors to bear in mind is accreditation. A program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education when the program successfully carries out its professional, educational, and work-related responsibilities. A program failing to carry out these basic responsibilities may be placed on probation and allowed remedy its shortcomings. When a medical education program’s problems are not fixed by the time of the subsequent ACGME site visit, the program’s accreditation is lost – and it no longer qualifies for state or federal resources or benefits.
Medical students, residents, the medical community, and the general public may view basic information about all medical residency and fellowship programs and sponsoring institutions accredited by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education. A listing of all medical residency and fellowship programs in the U.S. that are on ACGME probationary status for academic year 2016-2017 can be accessed here: https://apps.acgme.org/ads/Public/Reports/ReportRun?ReportId=9&CurrentYear=2016&OrganizationTypeId=1&SpecialtyId=
A listing of medical residency and fellowship programs in the U.S. that are currently accredited by the ACGME can be accessed here: https://apps.acgme.org/ads/public/reports/report/1
A map of the United States illustrating where medical residency and fellowship programs have defaulted and have been placed on probation can be accessed here: http://www.mleresidencytips.com/2011/10/analysis-of-programs-on-acgme-probation.html