Los Angeles County Supervisors Establish Task Force To Review Problems With King/Drew Residency Program
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors yesterday unanimously approved a proposal to form a task force to review medical residency programs and recommend reforms at county-administered Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reports (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 9/17). The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education last month revoked King/Drew's accreditation to train general surgery residents after a review found that the hospital had two more residents than the 38 allowed; ACGME placed the King/Drew residency 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, 9/3). The proposal approved yesterday will establish a task force, which would include former Surgeon General Dr. David Satcher and other outside experts, to examine within 60 days the "obligations of a teaching hospital, how other hospitals have responded under similar circumstances and how to strengthen recruitment and retention of faculty," the Times reports. "The county is committed to do what it can to address these problems. I want to assure you that we work on this night and day," Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite Burke (D) said.
In related news, the Assembly Select Committee on King/Drew Medical Center yesterday held a four-hour hearing to discuss the problems at the hospital, the Times reports. At the hearing, Assembly member Mervyn Dymally (D-Compton) requested that the committee expand an investigation into problems at King-Drew to include recommendations for reforms. Assembly member Mark Ridley-Thomas (D-Los Angeles) added, "We must restore the level of respect and dignity that the people who work here, who are served by this institution, deserve." In addition, former King/Drew Surgery Chair Dr. Arthur Fleming spoke for the first time publicly at the hearing. Fleming testified that the King-Drew residency program never exceeded the 38-resident requirement. He added that ACGME never warned him not to increase enrollment after he allowed two residents to continue in the program for an additional year for academic reasons. "A red flag was never raised to me regarding maintenance of these two residents in the program," Fleming said (Los Angeles Times, 9/17).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.