ACGME will visit troubled St. Louis medical school to hear concerns of residents

Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education officials will visit St. Louis University’s School of Medicine later this month due to concerns about its residency programs.

The ACGME, which accredits graduate medical training programs including residencies, will send representatives to the school Jan. 16 to talk to residents, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

A letter from the ACGME said it would conduct a focused site visit to investigate two areas—the “oversight of underperforming programs” and the school’s “ability to provide learning and working environments in which residents/fellows have the opportunity to raise concerns and provide feedback without intimidation or retaliation and in a confidential manner,” the newspaper said.

The school’s dean, Kevin Behrns, M.D., told the newspaper he thought the visit was prompted to look into potential problems that may have been revealed in an annual survey of residents by the ACGME.

ACGME officials will meet with a peer-selected senior resident or fellow from 15 of the school’s 64 programs, of which about a third were granted accreditation “with warning” in early 2017, the newspaper said.

A separate accrediting group, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, placed the medical school’s accreditation on probation last February for gaps in curriculum and inadequate policies.

Behrns, who joined the medical school in January 2017, about a month before that probation, said since that occurred and since the 2017 resident survey by the ACGME, the medical school has made improvements.

Those include an anonymous online form residents can use to report problems and plans announced this week to hire two new quality-control specialists as part of a remediation plan with the Liaison Committee.

The medical school remains accredited during the academic probation and was given two years to make changes after receiving a list of about 20 action items identified as noncompliant.

A surgical resident also filed a civil lawsuit last August, alleging a series of failures and retaliatory behavior by her superiors, the newspaper said.