The AOA/ACGME Single Accreditation System (SAS), also known as the merger, marches steadily toward the 2020 cutoff date for AOA accreditation. What is the status of emergency medicine residency programs?
The Merger: A Brief History
The drive toward a single accreditation system began in earnest when a group of osteopathic medical students wrote a resolution proposing an AOA-ACGME accreditation merge, with the goal of broadening educational opportunities, because residents in AOA programs were sometimes not eligible to apply to ACGME subspecialty fellowships, and vice versa. The resolution proposed a unified and standardized system of training residents. The plan was endorsed by the AOA and ACGME in 2014, with a deadline for all residency programs to become ACGME accredited by June 30, 2020.
The Merger: Accreditations Completed Under SAS
As of Sept. 30, 2017, there were 218 ACGME-accredited EM residency programs, and another 16 in ACGME pre-accredited phase.
ACOEP reported 62 AOA EM programs before the single accreditation system was initiated, and the most recent ACGME SAS Report lists 50 of those AOA EM programs have entered the ACGME accreditation process - and 34 have obtained ACGME accreditation through SAS.
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The Merger: Programs Pre-Accredited Under SAS
As of Sept. 30, 2017, 16 programs had achieved Pre-Accreditation status, meaning their ACGME application was already under review. These programs were not yet accredited and are not guaranteed accreditation by the 2020 deadline, when the AOA will no longer accredit EM programs.
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There are 12 AOA EM programs that did not apply for ACGME accreditation through the SAS. Some were already dually accredited by ACGME and AOA, while others are still working on their applications - and some programs have opted to close.
Several of the programs working on their ACGME application are still AOA-accredited and are accepting applications through the AOA National Matching Services. For the 2017-2018 cycle, 33 AOA-accredited programs are participating in the AOA match.
What Does Pre-Accreditation Mean?
The 22 programs in "Pre-Accreditation" status share similar circumstances:
- Still undergoing ACGME review (eg, site visit, etc.)
- Not yet eligible to participate in the NRMP Match
- Still eligible to participate in the AOA Match (provided they maintain AOA accreditation)
The pre-accredited programs are not guaranteed ACGME accreditation before the 2020 deadline. Therefore, osteopathic students in the 2017-2018 ERAS cycle are encouraged to ask about each program's status in the ACGME accreditation pathway. Students applying in the 2017-2018 ERAS cycle who are starting a 3-year emergency medicine residency program in summer 2018 will graduate in summer 2021. If a resident's ACGME Pre-Accredited program does not meet the 2020 accreditation deadline, the program will close, and the ACGME and AOA will work together on a case-by-case basis to make sure any displaced residents can graduate from residency.
ACGME List of Programs That Have Applied for Accreditation Under the Single Accreditation System by Specialty: https://apps.acgme.org/ads/Public/Reports/Report/18
ACOEP Report on Programs: http://acoep.org/main/education-events/graduate-medical-education/current-residency-programs/