Citing non-compliance with new work rules for residents, accreditors have informed Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore that its internal medicine program will lose accreditation next July, the university says.
In a statement, Hopkins says it is taking steps to address concerns raised in a Aug. 20 decision of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education in Chicago, based on new rules that went into effect on July 1.
Julie Jacob, ACGME's spokesperson, declined to comment on the Hopkins case, saying the council's policy is "not to comment on specific citations or reasons for accreditation decision for specific programs."
But information on the ACGME Web site indicates the council's residency review committee (RRC) for internal medicine opted for a "summary withdrawal" of the Hopkins program--an action that is given for an "egregious" violation of ACGME standards that is reported between accreditors' regular site visits.
The ACGME states that a program has 30 days in which to ask the RRC to reconsider summary withdrawal decisions. Unlike RRCs for most other specialties under the ACGME umbrella, the RRC for internal medicine has maintained work hours standards for at least 10 years.
Hopkins officials could not be reached for comment, but the Baltimore Sun reports that a Hopkins resident reported violations to the ACGME.
The Sun also reports that David Nichols, vice dean of education at the university's medical school, said the program received two "minor" citations for work schedule violations in 1997 and 2001, including one for scheduling physicians to be on call every other night on an intensive care unit.
Both the ACGME's older internal medicine standards and the new rules for all specialties require call no more often than once every third night as well as a maximum 80-hour work week.
The university's statement reads: "The ACGME has encouraged us to take steps that will maintain the accreditation of our residency program."
"We already have implemented measures to comply with the new work hour rules and look forward to demonstrating a collaborative relationship with the ACGME," the statement continues. "We feel that we will emerge from this experience with the ACGME with an even stronger program that is in full compliance with new work hour rules."