March 16, 2020

Special Edition e-Communication - March 16, 2020

The ACGME wants to acknowledge and thank the GME community for the tireless work of designated institutional officials, program directors, coordinators, faculty members, residents and fellows, and all others working around the clock to protect patients--and the nation--during this time of crisis. As the GME community works to protect patients, the ACGME will continue to support patient safety and resident and fellow well-being during this challenging time.

ACGME Operations
Effective Tuesday, March 17, 2020, the ACGME staff will be operating remotely. The organization is assessing which activities are considered critical to carrying out the mission to protect patient and population health through accreditation and recognition. A message from President and CEO Thomas J. Nasca, MD, MACP detailing those activities will be sent in the coming days.

ABMS Statement to the GME Community
The American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) issued a statement the ACGME has shared on its website regarding COVID-19 and disruption to training.

ACGME Clinical and Educational Expectations
The ACGME's guidance regarding the education of residents and fellows participating in clinical care, including the care of patients potentially infected with COVID-19 includes the following:

  1. Work Hour Requirements
    The ACGME Common Program Requirements Section VI Work Hour Requirements will remain unchanged. Safety of patients and residents/fellows is the ACGME’s highest priority, and it is vital all residents and fellows receive adequate rest between clinical duties. Violations of the work hours limitations have been associated with an increase in medical errors, which might lead to lapses in infection control. At a time when adherence to infection control procedures becomes an important safety issue, slips in this area could increase risks for both patients and residents/fellows.

  2. Adequate Resources and Training
    Any resident, fellow, and faculty member providing care to patients potentially infected with COVID-19 will be fully trained in treatment and infection control protocols and procedures adopted by their local health care setting (e.g., personal protective equipment [PPE]). Clinical learning environments must provide adequate resources, facilities, and training to properly recognize and care for these patients, including the need to take a complete travel and exposure history in patients presenting with signs and symptoms associated with COVID-19.

  3. Adequate Supervision
    Any resident or fellow who provides care to patients will do so under the appropriate supervision for the clinical circumstance and the level of training of the resident/fellow. Faculty members are expected to have been trained in the treatment and infection control protocols and procedures adopted by their local health care settings. Sponsoring Institutions and programs should monitor the CDC website.

ACGME Guidance and Scheduling Modifications
The ACGME shares guidance on COVID-19 associated with work hour requirements, resident/fellow rotations, time away from programs, educational expectations, and resident health and travel.

Additionally, the ACGME is adjusting the scheduling and conduct of its meetings and activities in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. This will be continually updated.

Email questions about the ACGME's guidance regarding COVID-19 to ACGMECommunications@acgme.org. Contact information regarding the various types of meetings and educational activities are listed in the Newsroom update.