Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center Loses Accreditation To Teach General Surgeons
The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education has revoked its accreditation to teach general surgeons at Martin Luther King Jr./Drew Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reports. ACGME revoked the accreditation of King/Drew's program because it had two more residents than the 38 permitted; the program was placed on probation last year because its residents were not provided with an adequate amount of surgical experience, faculty research was inadequate and its curriculum did not follow recommended guidelines. The decision takes effect immediately; King/Drew officials must find general surgery resident programs for 24 residents, including six who began their training this summer. Residents who are scheduled to complete their training by next June will be allowed to stay at King/Drew. In addition, King/Drew's anesthesiology, family medicine, internal medicine and neonatal-perinatal residents programs are on "shaky ground" with ACGME and could lose their accreditation, according to the Times. ACGME officials plan to visit King/Drew on Sept. 9 to review its overall physician training program. King/Drew received an unfavorable overall rating in its last review in 2000 and could lose its overall accreditation if it receives another unfavorable rating.
King/Drew will be allowed to continue treating trauma cases, including gunshot wounds and car accident injuries, but because medical residents "play a key role" in the trauma center, the facility may have difficulty with staffing. King/Drew is one of 13 facilities in Los Angeles County approved to treat such cases. Los Angeles County officials last week said they will attempt to start a new general surgery resident program "from scratch" at the King/Drew medical center, the Los Angeles Times reports. "We're committed to going back and submitting a new program [for approval]. We think that having a surgery program at King/Drew, with all the trauma and needs in that area, is important," Dr. Thomas Garthwaite, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services, said. It is unclear how long starting a new general surgery residency program will take, or whether King/Drew would be able to gain approval from ACGME (Ornstein/Weber, Los Angeles Times, 8/26). King/Drew can immediately apply to start a new surgical residency program. However, the facility would be required to prove it has resolved its previous problems, and approval is not guaranteed (Los Angeles Times, 8/23). County officials said the new program needs "new leadership" that does not have ties to the hospital or medical school (Los Angeles Times, 8/26).
King/Drew is "facing a crisis" of "botched training that could lead to more botched care," and Los Angeles County supervisors "must not settle for the same old promises" to fix the situation, a Los Angeles Times editorial states. According to the editorial, the county "has to consider fundamental change," such as requesting that the University of California-Los Angeles or the University of Southern California take over operations at King/Drew or developing a single countywide doctor training program. The editorial concludes, "What matters to the people who depend on King/Drew for care is not preserving the medical center's past but ensuring that it has a future" (Los Angeles Times, 9/2).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.