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GME Accreditation and CLER

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About the ACGME

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) is a private, non-profit organization that accredits more than 12,095 residency and fellowship programs in 157 specialties and subspecialties in the United States, affecting more than 150,674 Residents and Fellows.   This educational training takes place in approximately 865 sponsoring institutions.  One in seven active physicians in the U.S. and Residents or Fellows.

Graduate Medical Eduction (GME) programs continue the medical education of physicians who have graduated from medical school.  Formed in 1981 through a consensus need in the medical community for an independent accrediting organization for residency programs, the ACGME’s mission is to improve the quality of health care in the United States by accessing and advancing the quality of graduate medical education for physicians in training through accreditation.   The ACGME’s member organizations – the American Board of Medical Specialties, American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, American Association of Medical Colleges and Council of Medical Specialty Societies – nominate members to the ACGME’s Board of Directors. The board also includes two Resident representatives, the Chair of the Council of Review Committees, three public members and a federal government representative.

Residency and fellowship programs provide the clinical experience and education for residents to:

  • Gradually and progressively achieve the autonomy and independence to deliver the highest quality patient care without supervision.
  • Make the right decisions and take life-saving actions after undergoing a rigorous and demanding training program.
  • Learn how to cope with the challenges of practicing medicine.

Accreditation for GME is voluntary.  However, residency programs must be ACGME-accredited to receive Medicare graduate medical education funds, and Residents must complete an ACGME-accredited residency program to be eligible to take board certification exams.

In February 2012, the ACGME announced major changes in how the nation’s medical residency programs will be accredited in the years ahead, putting in place an outcomes-based evaluation system where the doctors of tomorrow will be measured for their competency in performing the essential tasks necessary for clinical practice in the 21st century.

 he ACGME’s next accreditation system for graduate medical education (GME) was fully implemented in 2014. Now, under the new system, each accredited medical residency program must demonstrate that its Residents have the core competencies and clinical skills to deliver quality patient care and respond to rapid developments in health care delivery.

“Equipping the doctors of tomorrow with the clinical skills and perspectives needed to promote patient safety and quality and to respond to the rapid developments in healthcare delivery are the ACGME’s prime objectives in implementing a ‘next accreditation system’ for graduate medical education in the U.S,” said Thomas Nasca, MD, MACP,  Chief Executive Officer of the ACGME.  “There is now widespread consensus that moving to an outcomes-based accreditation system will prepare physicians to deliver quality patient care and be skilled in evidence-based medicine, team-based care, care coordination, and shared decision-making – all critical to practicing medicine in an increasing complex health care system.” 

The ACGME’s next accreditation system is consistent with recommendations made by the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and such respected bodies as the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) and the Josiah Macy Jr. Foundation. Under the ACGME’s next accreditation system: Residents and Fellows must demonstrate competency in six core areas -- patient care and procedural skills, medical knowledge, practice-based learning and improvement, interpersonal skills and communication, systems-based practice, and professionalism.

Fifteen of the Residency and Fellowship Programs sponsored by our institution -- The University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga -- are accredited by the ACGME (nine Residency and six Fellowship Programs).  The remaining five programs are considered non-standard programs accredited or approved by other organizations.

What is ACGME Accreditation?

The ACGME accredits Sponsoring Institutions and residency and fellowship programs, confers recognition on additional program formats or components, and dedicates resources to initiatives addressing areas of import in graduate medical education. The ACGME employs best practices, research, and advancements across the continuum of medical education to demonstrate its dedication to enhancing health care and graduate medical education. The ACGME is committed to improving the patient care delivered by resident and fellow physicians today, and in their future independent practice, and to doing so in clinical learning environments characterized by excellence in care, safety, and professionalism.  The ACGME sets standards for effective training programs, and monitors compliance with those standards (the Institutional and Program Requirements).

  • Specialty-specific committees (Review Committees) of volunteer physicians including a resident/fellow representative, as well as a non-physician public member create a uniform set of high standards for each accredited specialty and subspecialty applied across all accredited US residency and fellowship programs educating and training physicians in those fields to ensure the highest quality physicians and patient care.
  • Accredited residency and fellowship programs are continuously monitored for substantial compliance with the requirements set by the applicable Review Committee, including through data collection and evaluation, surveys, and site visits.
  • The Review Committees regularly review the accreditation requirements to ensure they are based on current and best practices in the field.
  • The ACGME sets standards designed to cultivate a team-based learning environment and culture in which residents and fellows serve as both learners and mentors in delivering high-quality patient-focused care.
  • Residents and fellows provide regular feedback to the ACGME about their programs, offering an inside view that helps the organization to improve the overall quality of accredited programs.

Requirements are set, and compliance with those requirements is assessed, by specialty-specific Review Committees made up of volunteer physician experts in the field, including residents/fellows, as well as public representatives.  The Institutional Review Committee reviews and accredits institutions that sponsor graduate medical education programs. Each Review Committee receives data on all accredited or applicant programs or institutions within its purview, and makes an accreditation status decision on each, annually. 

Our Sponsoring Institution has been awarded Continued Accreditation with no citations and has received commendation for being in substantial compliance with the ACGME Institutional Requirements.  All of our ACGME-accredited programs hold Continued Accreditation and most have received commendations as well.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ACGME has suspended all in-person site visits for institutions as well as programs.  The ACGME is working on plans to conduct virtual visits once standards have been established.

Last Published: Oct 8, 2020