March 13, 2015
After springing forward earlier this month, losing yet another hour in the day, I chuckled at a cartoon that said “that was the hour I was going to go to the gym.” I’m sure that ‘hour’ could have been filled with so many rewarding moments for all of us! However, even with the time change, the efforts of the ACOS have been making continued progress during this dynamic year.
I, along with Dr. Tartaglione and Linda Ayers, attended the AOA Midyear Board of Trustees Meeting. I am pleased to express that active collaborative efforts with the AOA in improving graduate medical education through the single accreditation system remain on course. We all desire the equal opportunity for access to training for our osteopathic graduates. We are continually addressing any barriers that exist or may arise during this process into fellowship development/positions. The AOA and all specialty colleges are working together on a comprehensive strategy to solve any issues. The AOA ensures that language and actions moving forward are appropriate for perpetuation of osteopathic tracks.
The key to success for the residents is that programs need to focus on ACGME accreditation now. It will help to decrease the future uncertainty for as many of the residents as possible. Our goal is to help program directors prepare for the single accreditation system standards so they are met within all our programs. We continue to strive for AOA certification being recognized for our surgery program directors. The ACGME Internal Medicine Review Committee and Family Medicine Review Committee have accepted osteopathic certification for Internal Medicine Residency Program Directors and Family Medicine Program Directors under the single accreditation system for graduate medical education. This first step demonstrates the reciprocal partnership we are building with the ACGME. The AOA and the members that have been selected for the ACGME Review Committees will continue to advocate the AOA certification acceptance.
As we move toward a single accreditation system for graduate medical education (GME) in the United States, we continue to initiate each process carefully with significant scrutiny. All efforts remain with the best interests of our students and residents in mind. We will continue to protect and preserve all that the profession entails. Each specialty college, including the ACOS, continues to address issues with the AOA as they arise. As stated by Dr. Vinn, past AOA president, changing the paradigm always comes with challenges, but it offers opportunities as well. The ACOS has put forth enthusiastic candidates ready for any challenges presented to them. Opportunities continue to arise and we are moving forward to a better future for our profession.
Transitioning forward, the AOA has selected candidates to become appointed to the ACGME Board, Review Committees, the Osteopathic Principles Committee and Neuromusculoskeletal Review Committee and Lorenzo Pence, D.O. has been named Senior Vice President of the ACGME. The following ACOS members have been appointed to Residency Review Committees: Gregory H. Smith, D.O., FACOS - Neurological Surgery; Benjamin Lam, D.O., FACOS - Plastic Surgery; Joseph J. Stella, D.O., MBA, FACOS – Surgery; Laurence H. Belkoff, D.O. – Urology.
The AOA continues to partner with the ACGME in attempts to create innovative new ways to solve the GME slot and funding challenges, as well as, maintaining the slots that currently exist. The ACOS will continue to assist in these efforts for our current and future members.
Once again, program directors and directors of medical education are encouraged to continue monitoring the information resources on both the ACOS and the AOA websites and monitor additional communication vehicles available through the ACGME on the single accreditation system. This ACGME webpage is specifically directed to the osteopathic community. It provides timelines, flow diagrams, FAQs and announcements of upcoming presentations on the new accreditation system. ACOS has established a FAQs webpage as well and we will do our best to continue to keep every member informed on this process as best as possible. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the ACOS office or myself.
Next week the Board of Governors will be meeting to discuss many topics including the ACGME merger and finalizing this year’s strategic plan. We are also preparing the joint 2015 Annual Clinical Assembly in conjunction with the American College of Surgeons in Chicago October 4 - 7. Mark your calendar to join us there as it will be a rewarding educational experience. We would also like to formally congratulate our residents on their successful completion of the annual General Surgery In-Service Examination. Special congratulations to the top 5 residents receiving the highest scores per OGME year: OGME-1 Chris Tanga, D.O., OGME-2 James Barger, D.O., OGME-3 John J. Brady IV, D.O., OGME-4 Miroslav Kopp, D.O., and OGME-5 Michael G. Magrino, D.O.
We are continuing several advocacy efforts and have joined with multiple like-minded organizations keep the College supporting your best interests. In other advocacy news, President Obama has included in his budget a request for Congress to pass last year’s bi-partisan, bi-cameral agreement on the replacement of the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. AOA representative, Geraldine O’Shea, D.O., addressed him with a presentation discussing the case for full repeal of the SGR. We will continue our efforts to urge the same. And, despite bad weather, D.O. Day on the hill was a success. Many students and physicians attended!
Finally, I would like to extend an invitation for you to join us next month for the General Surgery In-Depth Review Seminar taking place April 9-11 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. This will be an excellent program focusing on breast and minimally invasive surgery. More information regarding these programs can be found on the website.
As we move into spring, enjoy the blossoming of new relationships along with nature outdoors. Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Valerie L. Sheridan, D.O., FACOS, FACS
American College of Osteopathic Surgeons