The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine and American Osteopathic Association have agreed to a framework to form a single accreditation
system for physician-resident-training programs in the U.S.
The ACGME currently accredits some 9,300 residency programs training some 117,000 doctors
—including almost 9,000 with Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine, or D.O., degrees. The AOA also accredits about 1,000 programs in which around 6,900 D.O.s train.
The AOA-accredited programs will transition to ACGME recognition and accreditation between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2020. Osteopathic programs will continue their focus and two osteopathic review panels will be established to evaluate programs and set standards. The AOA and AACOM will become member organizations of the ACGME
and will be represented on the ACGME governing board.
The unification occurs just as the ACGME is transitioning to a new outcomes-based milestone program called the Next Accreditation System
designed to evaluate and promote residents based on demonstrated competencies rather than the passage of time.
The competencies measured include patient care; medical knowledge; practice-based learning and improvement; systems-based practice; professionalism; and interpersonal skills and communication.
“This uniform path of preparation for practice ensures that the evaluation of and accountability for the competency of all resident physicians—M.D.s and D.O.s—will be consistent across all programs." Dr. Thomas Nasca, the ACGME CEO, said in a release
. "A single accreditation system provides the opportunity to introduce and consistently evaluate new physician competencies that are needed to meet patient needs and the healthcare delivery challenges facing the U.S. over the next decade."
The organizations originally announced their intention to form a single GME accreditation system
in October 2012.
Discussions dragged on, however, prompting the organizations to issue a statement
on Aug. 8, 2013, declaring that all three groups remained “committed to work toward improving graduate medical education for the benefit of the public, patients and resident physicians in training programs.”Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks