The Board of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has approved final resident duty hour standards for the nation's 7,800 residency training programs, effective July 1, 2003.
Under the rules, approved in draft form in September, the nation's nearly 100,000 residents are limited to a maximum of 80 duty hours per week, including in-house call, averaged over four weeks, the ACGME says.
But the ACGME says programs can raise the limit to 88 hours if they can prove educational necessity. Also, the ACGME has decided that programs won't be expected to monitor work hours by residents moonlighting at other facilities.
In addition to the weekly hours limit, the new standards provide for rest periods and days free from resident duties.
In October, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration recognized the ACGME's role in developing duty hour standards when the agency denied a petition by medical students and resident groups asking the federal government to formulate work hours standards.