King/Drew Medical Center Asks Group Not To Withdraw Accreditation for Surgery Residency Program
Officials from Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center on Wednesday formally requested that the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education not withdraw accreditation for a surgery residency program at the hospital, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 9/25). The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education last month revoked accreditation for a King/Drew program that trains general surgery residents after a review found that the program had two more residents than the 38 allowed; ACGME placed the program on probation last year because residents did not receive an adequate amount of surgical experience, faculty research was inadequate and the curriculum did not meet recommended guidelines (California Healthline, 9/17). In a five-page letter sent to the ACGME on Wednesday, King/Drew officials did not dispute the conclusions of the group but cited improvements made by the hospital to address problems with the program; King/Drew replaced the director of the program and increased oversight officials at the hospital and Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, which administers the program. Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, which administers King/Drew, said, "What we tried to emphasize in this letter is we've heard your issues and here's our response. Here's what we've done to ensure that we're in compliance and will be forever." Dr. Marcelle Willock, dean of the Drew Medical School, said that the King/Drew officials will continue to work to improve the 18 residency programs at the hospital, several of which are on probation or have received warnings from ACGME. "My goal is to have every single program fully accredited in 2004," she said. According to ACGME rules, the group will make a final decision on accreditation for the King/Drew surgery residency program within two weeks (Los Angeles Times, 9/25).
Although King/Drew "does have its problems," the hospital "is a good place to be a patient, a good place to practice medicine and a good place for research," Dr. Shalendar Bhasin, chief of the endocrinology division at King/Drew; Dr. Theodore Friedman, fellowship director of the endocrinology program at the hospital; and Dr. Mayer Davidson, director of the clinical trials unit and the diabetes clinic at the hospital, write in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece. The "focus now is on reform of its physician training programs," but the "real tradition" of King/Drew is a "heritage of community service and making this a better city," the authors conclude (Bhasin et al., Los Angeles Times, 9/20).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.