ACGME Rural Track Program Designation
Consistent with Section II of the MUA/P framework, the ACGME is developing processes addressing ACGME-accredited programs that are also “rural tracks” as defined in rules and regulations of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in 42 CFR §413.79(k).
Under current CMS regulations, urban teaching hospitals have an opportunity to obtain reimbursement for direct GME (DGME) and indirect medical education (IME) financing by partnering with rural hospitals and other rural sites to create separately accredited rural track programs (RTPs). In RTPs, residents are assigned to certain types of participating sites in rural areas for more than half of the length of their residency program. While CMS does not limit the creation of RTPs to specific specialties, RTPs have historically been created in the specialty of family medicine only (some RTPs in Family Medicine are often called “1-2 programs.”). Recognizing that alignment of ACGME processes with CMS regulations will facilitate the expansion of opportunities to address the health care needs of medically underserved areas through the development of rural track programs, the ACGME has developed a common, criterion-based process for designating ACGME-accredited RTPs across specialties.
RTPs may share resources with already existing ACGME-accredited programs, and residents/fellows in RTPs may have overlapping rotations with residents/fellows in those programs. Requests for RTP designation may identify the existing programs as Rural Track Related Programs (see definition below).
By providing a standardized method for identifying RTPs in a variety of specialties, this designation will support hospitals seeking to create new pathways for physicians who wish to practice in rural areas.
As part of the ACGME RTP designation request, the program director must provide an ACGME RTP Rotation Information Form. This form is required in addition to the block diagram that is part of the program’s accreditation application.
ACGME Definition of Terms Specific to MUA/P:
|ACGME Rural Track Program (RTP)||An ACGME-accredited program with a unique 10-digit identifier in which residents/fellows gain both urban and rural experience with more than half of the education and training for each resident/fellow taking place in a rural area (any area outside of a Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA)).|
|ACGME Rural Track Program (RTP) designation||A classification provided by the ACGME that identifies Rural Track Programs at the time of application for accreditation.|
|ACGME Rural Track Related Program||A separately accredited program in the same specialty at the same Sponsoring Institution in which residents/fellows have some overlapping education and training experiences with the ACGME Rural Track Program residents/fellows and may share resources.|