Taradejna C. ACGME Procedures for Addressing Complaints Against Residency Programs. JAMA. 1999;282(6):602B. doi:10.1001/jama.282.6.602
Prepared by Ashish Bajaj, Department of Resident
Physicians Services, American Medical Association.
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) review
committees (Residency Review Committee [RRC], Transitional Year Review Committee,
and Institutional Review Committee) are responsible for monitoring compliance
with the ACGME institutional requirements and each specialty's program requirements.
If a resident believes that a residency program is not complying with its
requirements, the resident can alert the ACGME to this through a formal mechanism.
Before implementing the ACGME's complaint procedures, residents should
understand that the ACGME and its review committees will not adjudicate disputes
between individual residents and residency programs. All institutions are
required to have formal grievance procedures; residents who are involved in
disputes with a program regarding promotion, nonrenewal of contract, dismissal,
sexual harassment, or discrimination should first use the institution's grievance
procedures. If the institution lacks grievance procedures, it may be appropriate
for a resident to file a formal complaint using ACGME's complaint procedures.
Residents who believe that their residency program or institution is
not complying with the program or institutional requirements have several
options available to them. The ACGME recommends that residents use these options
in the order in which they are presented:
Try to resolve the issue directly with the residency program director.
Inform the institution's graduate medical education committee
or a similar oversight body at the institution.
Contact the institution's resident organization or the appropriate
institutional forum or individual appointed to address resident concerns.
Send a signed, written communication to the executive director
of the RRC for that medical specialty. The ACGME cannot investigate an anonymous
Written and signed complaints must identify the specific program requirement(s)
and/or institutional requirement(s) allegedly being violated and must provide
documentation supporting the complaint. In addition, the resident must list
and explain what steps were taken to resolve the issues within the institution
and the results of those efforts.
If the ACGME determines that a complaint warrants investigation, it
will bring the complaint to the attention of the appropriate RRC without revealing
the name of the complainant. Such action will depend on the nature of the
allegations and the documentation provided. If a complaint is forwarded to
a RRC, the RRC will inform the program director and/or the designated institutional
official of the allegations and request a written response.
After reviewing this response, the RRC may decide whether the complaint
should be dismissed or whether it warrants further investigation. If the RRC
decides to investigate further, it may schedule an immediate site visit or
may plan to investigate during the next regularly scheduled site visit. After
this investigation, the RRC will decide on an appropriate course of action
based on the nature of the violation. Following the evaluation by a review
committee, the complainant, program director, and/or the designated institutional
official will be informed of the committee's decision in writing.
A complete copy of the "ACGME Procedures for Dealing with Complaints
against Residency Programs," is available at www.acgme.org.