March 24, 2020

Special Edition e-Communication - March 24, 2020

From ACGME President and CEO Dr. Thomas J. Nasca: New Status for Institutions in Response to COVID-19
The pressures of the COVID-19 (SARS COV2) pandemic are mounting across the country. In response to this, the ACGME has developed a new modification to its Extraordinary Circumstances policy enabling Sponsoring Institutions to declare a Pandemic Emergency Status.

Significant numbers of patients are arriving at or being transferred to teaching hospitals. In contrast, some institutions are seeing very few of these patients, but are planning for the anticipated surge of patients infected with the novel coronavirus.

These circumstances, and their continued evolution, require a new conceptual framework from which graduate medical education (GME) can effectively operate during the pandemic. To explain this new framework and provide guidance and response to questions from the community, we have created a section of the website dedicated to information about ACGME Requirements during this pandemic. Please view those pages here.

Sponsoring Institutions and their participating sites are functioning at one of three stages along a continuum:

Stage 1 – “business as usual”
Stage 2 – increased but manageable clinical demand
Stage 3 – crossing a threshold beyond which the increase in volume and/or severity of illness creates an extraordinary circumstance where routine care education and delivery must be reconfigured to focus only on patient care

The ACGME trusts designated institutional officials, program directors, and faculty members to make the changes necessary to care for patients during this crisis, and to protect caregivers (residents, fellows, faculty members, nurses, respiratory therapists, physician assistants) and those supporting them as they serve the nation.

Finally, we recognize there may be ramifications for individual certification or on-time graduation for some individuals. We are working closely with the American Board of Medical Specialties and the American Osteopathic Association on these challenging questions.

Please continue your great work caring for your patients, each other, and yourselves.

Suspension of Regular Weekly ACGME e-Communication
Out of respect for the demands on and work of the graduate medical education (GME) community, the ACGME is adjusting the focus of its communications on essential information needed to enable the community to do its job caring for patients and the health of the public. As time moves forward and needs evolve, the regular e-Communication will resume accordingly. This adjustment echoes the focus Dr. Nasca’s Letter to the Community (see below) outlined for the ACGME activities and GME. The ACGME thanks the GME community for its outstanding, professional response to this crisis.

Receiving ACGME Communications
During this time where communication with the GME community is particularly critical, the Editorial Services team would like to note a few key points about the email program.

1. ACGME staff and Board members; ACGME Member and Nominating organization representatives; designated institutional officials (DIOs); program directors; institutional coordinators; and program coordinators all receive these messages. Faculty members and residents/fellows do not receive these messages. Forward the information to them as appropriate.

2. Didn't receive the email? First, check junk/spam folders, then check how your email address is listed in ADS; next, ask the institutional IT department to whitelist all @acgme.org email addresses.

3. Still not getting the emails? Contact ACGMECommunications@acgme.org so ACGME staff can look into the case individually.

Additionally, the ACGME will post the special edition emails on the ACGME Blog.

ACGME Staff Working Remotely
To contact the ACGME, please use email or phone as the primary means of communication. Post mail will be the least efficient method of communication, as the mail is being gathered intermittently and then needs to be redistributed to the home address of the appropriate staff member. If the question is specialty or subspecialty specific, contact the staff for the appropriate Review or Recognition Committee. 

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 ACGME Newsroom.