As many of you know, AOA and ACGME are merging to form a single graduate medical education group known as the SAS or single accreditation system. Though consternation with the change has been expressed by both sides to date, the general opinion is that this change is great for graduate medical education on the whole and should allow a more streamlined and cohesive delivery of education and will promote improved health and health care for the publicby enhancing the education of all physicians.
The AOA, representing Doctor of Osteopathy programs, has been in negotiation with the ACGME for about a decade about potentially becoming an ACGME member organization. In early 2015, the discussions reached their climax and the structure of the combined Match was agreed upon. Two years in there are still questions to be answered, but a large share of DO programs have already applied for recognition and had their site visits. By 2020, the transition is expected to be complete. The overarching theme is to create one accreditation system to ensure a consistent method of evaluating residencies and expand the types of training available to both DO’s and MD’s. Osteopathic programs may maintain their current training onosteopathic manipulative treatment by applying for “recognition” as they apply for ACGME recognition. The biggest concern on the national level with this is some programs may not meet these new requirements and face closure- right at a time when the US is expected to face a physician crunch.
Because of the nature of the change, with the AOA folding under the ACGME, there is currently a potential negative impact on MD students before 2020. Currently DO students can apply to ACGME or what were formally MD-only programs while MD’s cannot currently apply to DO programs that have not yet achieved accreditation. This means ACGME programs can pick the top from both MD and DO schools while AOA programs can only take in DO graduates.
While this is a tough transition for IMG’s now, we will cover in our next article why the transition is potentially a great thing for AUIS students looking to Match in 2020 and beyond.