Los Angeles Times Examines New Rules To Limit Workweeks for Medical Residents
The Los Angeles Times today looks at rules taking effect tomorrow by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education -- the group that establishes and oversees standards for medical training -- that will limit the average workweek of medical residents, with the goal of reducing medical errors (Weber/Ornstein, Los Angeles Times, 6/30). Last June, the council announced the first national limits on the number of hours that medical residents may work in an effort to reduce the risk of errors by young doctors. The new rules will limit the workweek for residents to 80 hours. In addition, the rules will require that residents have at least 10 hours of rest between shifts and do not work more than 24 hours at a time. The rules also will require hospital faculty directors and program managers to assess the residents for signs of sleep loss and fatigue (California Healthline, 6/13/02). Many doctors consider the changes the "most important shift in physician training in decades," the Times reports. However, many worry that the new rules "may promote a punch-the-clock mentality and cut too deeply into training time" in some specialties and may require residents to spend an additional year in training. The council will track residency program compliance during its annual visits and can punish programs in violation of the new rules by putting the program on probation or withdrawing accreditation and closing the program (Los Angeles Times, 6/30). The Boston Globe today also examines the ACGME rules (Barnard, Boston Globe, 6/30).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.