ACGME to accredit osteopathic residencies

The American Osteopathic Association's House of Delegates voted to move ahead with the board's decision to use a single accreditation system for physician graduate medical education.

The plans, approved during the organization's annual meeting in Chicago last weekend, call for the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to oversee all residency programs by July 2020, and for the AOA and the American Association of Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine to become ACGME member organizations. The AOA currently accredits osteopathic residency training and will cease to do so July 1, 2020.

With representation on the ACGME board, osteopathic physicians will have a voice in the development of the ACGME's new accreditation system, new AOA President Dr. Robert Juhasz noted in an interview. The new methodology looks to advance doctors in their training as they achieve certain competency milestones rather than advancing them merely with the passage of time.

Juhasz, president of South Pointe Hospital, a Cleveland Clinic institution in Warrensville Heights, Ohio, called the move a “unique opportunity to let the world now what D.O.s do, how we think and how we run our practices.”

The three organizations began publicly discussing a single accreditation system in October 2012, and the vote by the AOA House of Delegates allows for a plan to implement the new system to go forward, said Dr. Thomas Nasca, CEO of the ACGME.

“We continue to firmly believe that this single accreditation system will foster greater accountability to the American public for the outcomes that are needed in the healthcare delivery system of the future,” Nasca said in a letter (PDF) posted on the ACGME website. “And, it provides the greatest opportunity for optimization of use of the GME resources provided by the public to the profession, and maximizes opportunities for the residents of today and tomorrow.”

The organizations also believe the unification sends a message to Congress that, as potential GME spending cuts are discussed, the three organizations are collaborating “to remove any perceived inefficiencies in having two accreditation systems,” according to an FAQ page on the AOA website.

Follow Andis Robeznieks on Twitter: @MHARobeznieks



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