- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 15, 2006

Howard University Hospital, which is partnering with the District to build a teaching hospital in Southeast, in recent years has cut the number of medical training programs it operates to help improve its accreditation.

The hospital has 18 medical residency programs, down from 25 in 2002, according to Howard officials and records from the Chicago-based Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME).

The council accredits more than 7,000 medical teaching programs nationwide. It rates institutions as well as the training programs they sponsor.

The accreditation organization upgraded Howard’s overall rating from “unfavorable” to “favorable” in 2004, said Dr. Victor Scott, vice president of health sciences at Howard.

“We were successful, and … the hospital is now in favorable status,” he said.

Howard is planning to build a teaching hospital in Southeast on the grounds of D.C. General Hospital. The university now operates a facility on Georgia Avenue in Northwest.

Under an exclusive rights deal with the District, Howard would run the National Capital Medical Center and split construction costs with the District.

Several of Howard’s medical training programs that concerned accreditation inspectors have been phased out or withdrawn. Among these programs was emergency medical training.

Hospital officials say the loss of the emergency medical training program won’t affect Howard’s ability to run a new hospital, which will include a Level 1 trauma center.

“What’s most important is a surgical program and an attending surgical staff,” said Dr. Robin C. Newton, director of graduate medical education. “We have a very stable and wonderful surgical program here.”

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations, which reviews patient care standards, reported that Howard is in “full compliance” with all hospital treatment standards at its existing facility.

A spokeswoman for ACGME, which accredits post-medical training programs, said the council does not comment on the specific reasons for its decisions.

Howard officials said ACGME inspectors generally expressed concern about patient volume and the types of cases that resident doctors treated. The emergency medical training program faced accreditation troubles after the closing of D.C. General, where Howard trained some of its residents.

Howard’s pathology and radiation oncology teaching programs remain under probation. The cardiovascular disease teaching program is rated “continued accreditation with warning.”

Dr. Scott said the hospital has no plans to resurrect its emergency training program if the National Capital Medical Center project moves forward.

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