- The Washington Times - Friday, November 8, 2002

Howard University Hospital announced yesterday it is reorganizing its graduate medical education programs to ensure that its individual residency training programs meet accreditation standards.
Next year, the hospital will realign the number of new residency slots based on the number of patients and will consider affiliations with other area hospitals to ensure residents receive sufficient experience with patients during their medical rotations.
"As the only African-American university-owned teaching hospital in the United States, Howard University Hospital's most important commitments are to quality patient care and to quality specialty training of physicians," said Debra Carey, chief operating officer.
"Our commitment to training medical personnel is unwavering and will be strengthened through this initial reorganization of our residency programs," she said.
Hospital administrators made the announcement yesterday in response an "unfavorable" rating of its residency training programs last year by the Institutional Review Committee of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), the Chicago-based council that oversees all residency programs in the nation.
The most frequent citation was that resident doctors were not interacting with enough patients.
Dr. Thomas Gaiter, the hospital's medical director and chairman of the Graduate Medical Education Committee, said he is optimistic about future ACGME surveys. Another survey will done next summer or fall, he said.
Mrs. Carey said administrators formed a steering committee for graduate medical education when the hospital received the unfavorable ruling.
In the past several months, every residency program has been evaluated with consistent criteria, according to hospital administrators.
Mrs. Carey said the hospital will further improve its residency training by eliminating several programs and accepting fewer incoming residents.
The hospital must also eliminate the "transitional year" program, in which first-year doctors receive training in various fields before specializing.
"We want to keep it, but we must be realistic," Mrs. Carey said. "We are going to provide high-quality care for patients and experience for our residents."
Howard University Hospital and the Howard University College of Medicine remain fully accredited.
"By restructuring our programs, forging new partnership opportunities and maintaining our spirit of service to our increasingly diverse patient population, Howard will continue to provide quality health care to the D.C. area community," she said.

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