King/Drew Medical Center Loses Appeal of Accrediting Council Rating
In response to an appeal by Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education affirmed its unfavorable rating of King/Drew's physician training program at a meeting this month, Los Angeles County Department of Health Services officials said Tuesday, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 4/21). According to the AP/Contra Costa Times, the rating "makes King/Drew among the most troubled teaching hospitals in the nation" (AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/21). Last fall, the council found King/Drew's oversight of its medical resident training programs to be "substandard." The negative review is the second time in the last three years that the facility has received an unfavorable rating from ACGME (California Healthline, 10/23/03). If the problems at King/Drew are not corrected in two years, ACGME could close down all of the hospital's teaching programs. Separately, the council has revoked accreditation for King/Drew's radiology and surgery physician-training programs and is requiring the hospital to discontinue the programs in June. In addition, ACGME also has recommended that the neonatology training program be closed, while the internal medicine, anesthesia and family medicine programs have received warnings or have been placed on probation.
As a result of the recent problems, county DHS officials have begun to renegotiate the county's $13.8 million annual contract with Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science to run the training programs at King/Drew "to increase accountability," the Times reports. According to the Times, Drew interim President Dr. Harry Douglas said that the accrediting council's affirmation "has been expected and that officials were working to correct longstanding problems." Douglas said that he hoped that with the aid of new staff and outside experts from the University of California, the problems could be corrected in one year, adding, "We're disappointed, but we're prepared to move forward. It's turning around and we're working very hard on it." Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, director of county DHS, said that his office is working with Drew officials "to pare back the number of residencies at the hospital and focus on core programs," the Times reports (Los Angeles Times, 4/21).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.