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Resident Forum
June 10, 1998

ACGME Adopts New Mechanism to Address Residents' Concerns

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Copyright 1998 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.1998American Medical AssociationThis is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

JAMA. 1998;279(22):1782N. doi:10.1001/jama.279.22.1782

In the February 18 Resident Forum column, we reported on the issue of collective negotiations between resident physicians and their residency programs. The question being considered by the National Labor Relations Board is whether residents would be protected under US labor laws if they negotiated working conditions with their programs. Absent a voice in these negotiations, some residents feel that they have little opportunity to improve their working conditions and little recourse when faced with mistreatment. Some of the criticism for the status quo has fallen on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), which accredits the 7619 residency programs.

One of the criticisms has been that the ACGME's process for reviewing complaints against residency programs is too slow. Residents have argued that too often the process takes so long that the resident who originally filed the complaint has completed residency before the complaint was fully addressed. To address this specific concern, the ACGME recently enacted a "rapid response mechanism" for some complaints. The full text of this procedure is presented below. The ACGME is also reviewing its institutional requirements to address other concerns; we will report on these in a future Resident Forum.