August 13, 2004

Residency accrediting organization touts VUMC

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Fred K. Kirchner, M.D.

Residency accrediting organization touts VUMC

Vanderbilt University Medical Center has received a strong vote of approval for its graduate medical education programs from the Institutional Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education.

The private, professional organization is responsible for the accreditation of nearly 7,800 residency education programs. The committee examines individual institutions and their roles in supporting graduate medical education programs.

VUMC received a “favorable decision” by the ACGME, which does not “accredit” the institution that supports the program, but rather gives either a favorable or unfavorable decision to the institution.

“Their decision shows that this institution has a genuine commitment to support graduate medical education and has the financial resources to do it,” said Fred K. Kirchner, M.D., associate dean of Graduate Medical Education at VUMC. It’s a reflection of the dedication of a lot of people around here.”

Steven G. Gabbe, M.D., dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, said he is happy with the good assessment.

“In my nearly 15 years of experience as a residency program director and a member of residency graduate medical education committees at two other institutions, I’ve never seen an assessment from the ACGME in which not a single deficiency was cited,” he said.

The site visit took place last November, and the committee acted on its recommendation at its April meeting. Vanderbilt received the letter in July. During the Vanderbilt visit, members of the committee met with Kirchner, Norman Urmy, executive vice president of Clinical Affairs, the graduate education committee, Jane Shoun, assistant director of Graduate Medical Education, and residents.

“The institution is commended for its commitment to Graduate Medical Education with leadership and resources to achieve substantial compliance with the Institutional Requirements,” an ACGME official said in a letter written to Kirchner. VUMC was also recognized for its implementation of two “best practices.”

In the letter to Kirchner, the following programs were commended:

“The institution has developed a slide presentation to educate faculty and residents alike on the physiology, the recognition of, and the management of fatigue, particularly anticipating changes in work schedule brought about by efforts to comply with duty hours standards. Participants do not receive credit for the module unless they provide correct responses to several of the questions. All house staff and faculty are expected to participate in the program.

“In an effort to address quality assurance as it relates to patient safety, the institution is in the process of implementing a Crew Resource Management program that includes representatives and leaders from all areas of the Medical Center. This innovative program is an aviation-based tool that will focus on such skills as data-driven decision-making, read-back, pre- and post-procedure briefings, etc. A number of residents participated in the inaugural retreat for this program and one resident has been a part of several key committees involved in overseeing the project.”

“This combined with recognition for two best practices emphasizes the outstanding environment for residency training at Vanderbilt University Hospital, and is due to the efforts of Dr. Kirchner, Dr. (Tom) Dina, who chairs our graduate medical education committee, Ms. Shoun and all of our clinical chairs and program directors as well as Norman Urmy and the hospital administration,“ Gabbe said.

The ACGME also assigns institutions a revisit date, that ranges from one to five years, with a longer period indicating that the ACGME is “more confident about the ability of a given program or institution to provide quality education,” according to the ACGME Web site. VUMC will be revisited in five years, in April 2009.

The institution was last given a favorable decision in April 2000, and given only a three-year space between visits.

In addition, there were also no violations cited.

“We are very pleased with the committee’s findings,” Kirchner said. “They gave us no concerns or citations, and that’s unusual.”