Updated July 29, 2013
Why couldn't the AOA, AACOM and ACGME reach an agreement on the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)?
First, it's important to note that one of the main reasons for entering into discussions with ACGME on a single, unified graduate medical education system was due to ACGME's decision to implement the Common Program Requirements. These Common Program Requirements will restrict access for DO graduates wanting to move from AOA training programs to ACGME training programs including fellowships.
The AOA's goal in entering into discussions with ACGME was to preserve access to these training programs for DO graduates. These discussions were never intended to be at the expense of merging our board certification, licensure examinations, CME or unique aspects of osteopathic principles and practice.
Although there are specific discussions regarding the MOU that are bound by confidentiality agreements, it's important to note that there are two sides to every discussion. Negotiations are just that - negotiations - where each side must compromise, but also hold true to itself.
The AOA is dedicated to maintaining distinctly osteopathic GME under a unified system and the AOA did not see terms that would provide assurances as to the survival of osteopathic GME or full access and parity for DOs entering into all training programs within the MOU.
We remain open to continued discussions with the ACGME.
How does the fact that AOA, AACOM and ACGME were unable to reach an agreement on a MOU for a unified graduate medical education accreditation system affect students?
Osteopathic medical students will continue to have the same choices they have now – AOA and ACGME residency pathways – and continue to have full access to all GME programs.
How does the fact that AOA, AACOM and ACGME were unable to reach an agreement on a MOU for a unified graduate medical education accreditation system affect residents or DOs pursuing fellowships?
AOA and ACGME residency programs are both recognized by hospitals, payors, state and federal governments and other authorities. AOA will continue to pursue other options to protect access to ACGME training programs for residents in osteopathic training or DOs with osteopathic training who are interested in pursuing ACGME fellowships.
How does the fact that AOA, AACOM and ACGME were unable to reach an agreement on a MOU for a unified graduate medical education accreditation system affect program directors?
The AOA will continue to advocate for recognition of AOA board certification to be program directors in ACGME programs.
What happened when the Specialty Evaluating Committees and the Residency Review Committees met?
Six Specialty Evaluating Committees and Residency Review Committees have already met to discuss their respective standards (Internal Medicine, Family Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Orthopedic Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology and General Surgery). Institutional standards were also compared. During these discussions, it became apparent that there were strong, substantive similarities between AOA and ACGME training standards and both sides benefitted greatly from these discussions in order to improve patient care.
What happens next?
We plan to meet with ACGME in the next few weeks, and will keep you apprised of the status of our discussions. In the meantime, the AOA continues to move forward with enhancements to the AOA graduate medical education system. The osteopathic medical profession will also continue to grow OGME programs across the U.S. to ensure that all DO graduates have a place to train once they graduate. Just this past year, more than 1,100 new OGME positions were created within 75 new programs. This means that now there are more than 12,000 osteopathic graduate medical education positions available. We thank the osteopathic medical community for your feedback, your support and your patience during this continued discussion period. Please email any questions to ACGME@osteopathic.org.