As always, during the COVID-19 pandemic the ACGME remains committed to the safety and well-being of the graduate medical education (GME) community, including residents, fellows, faculty members, and the patients they serve.
With this focus top of mind, the ACGME has updated its Procedures for Alleged Egregious Events to address how the organization will rapidly respond to alleged non-compliance with the four prevailing COVID-19 priority requirements. The new section outlines the process for invoking the policy and subsequent investigation of alleged egregious events related to COVID-19 and includes an added means of identifying institutions or programs by way of a public sanction. Institutions and programs that receive a public sanction will be required to notify current residents and fellows, as well as new applicants, including the reason for the sanction.
Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, the ACGME has granted significant flexibility to accredited Sponsoring Institutions and programs in order to manage the demands of patient care while maintaining compliance with four requirements focused on adequate resources and training, adequate supervision, work hours, and fellows functioning in their core (primary) specialty.
These requirements are expectations regardless of an accredited institution’s GME pandemic stage.
The ACGME is aware of resident and fellow concerns around supervision during the pandemic. Faculty members should be cognizant of their experience in this setting and must provide the appropriate level of supervision. Residents and fellows should be informed that they will have the personal protective equipment that is the standard for the level of the clinical encounter with the patient and not be asked to work beyond the limits of the ACGME work hour requirements. Additionally, fellows in ACGME-accredited programs can function within their core specialty up to 20 percent of their education time in an academic year if they have a staff appointment at their Sponsoring Institution and are board-eligible or -certified.
The COVID-19 section of the Alleged Egregious Events Policy will allow the ACGME to quickly act in enforcing these requirements and protecting residents, fellows, faculty members, and patients. It begins on page 133 in the ACGME Policies and Procedures Manual.