Graduate medical education

Single GME update: More than 6,600 AOA residency positions are now ACGME-accredited

The transition is complete for all AOA residency programs in two specialties and nearly complete for those in another seven specialties.

With 20 months remaining in the transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education, 72% of all eligible AOA residency programs have now received or applied for ACGME accreditation.

Of the AOA residency positions that were filled when the transition began in July 2015, 6,611 of those slots are now in ACGME-accredited programs.

Currently, 893 of the original 1,244 AOA residency programs eligible for transition on June 1, 2015, have received ACGME accreditation or have submitted applications for accreditation.

Specialties near completion

In a recent update to the AOA Program and Trainee Review Council, AOA Past President Boyd Buser, DO, noted that 57 AOA programs received initial ACGME accreditation during the fall 2018 review committee meetings, including 16 family medicine programs, 15 internal medicine programs, five orthopedic surgery programs and eight general surgery programs.

“We had exceptional outcomes in October, particularly for our surgical programs. At this point, only 125 AOA programs remain in pre-accreditation or continued pre-accreditation, and we are optimistic that a number of them will receive initial accreditation during the next round of review committee meetings,” Dr. Buser said.

The transition is complete for two specialties, pediatrics and anesthesiology, and others are almost complete, including internal medicine, diagnostic radiology, neurology, physical medicine and rehabilitation, psychiatry, ob-gyn and urological surgery.

The AOA Program and Trainee Review Council is considering which programs will be allowed to participate in the final (2019) AOA Match. Rank order lists for the AOA Match will be accepted from Jan. 8-18, 2019.

Only programs that have a good chance to achieve ACGME accreditation will be allowed to participate in the final AOA Match, said Dr. Buser, who added that agreements are in place to protect residents currently training in AOA-accredited programs.

“AOA will continue to accredit its programs until the last resident graduates. No student need worry that they will be unable to finish their residency due to accreditation issues because safeguards are in place to protect them throughout this process.”

Applicants can begin submitting their rank order lists to the NRMP Match on Jan. 15, 2019.

Further reading:

Get ready for residency: 2019 Match timeline

Matching into residency—what program directors and students are looking for


  1. DO

    I don’t necessarily see this as all is good and well. This means 28% of programs have not applied for ACGME accreditation and, if the AOA ceases to be a GME accreditor beyond 2020, these positions may be at risk.

    Can we propose keeping the AOA as an accreditor beyond 2020 and possibly indefinitely after that?

    I still see the AOA as a viable, fitting, and just accreditor for osteopathic graduates and osteopathic residents and fellows.

    1. Levy

      These decisions in progress towards a single accreditation system are already final. Being acitive in policy within the AOA should be a priority for you in the future should you desire to have an impact on what changes are made and how.

      1. DO

        I don’t see the GME merger as necessarily an end all.

        I actually think it could facilitate development of two separate and parallel GME accreditors (ACGME and AOA).

        In fact, CMS and HHS have a current policy and bill that requires two accreditors in order for GME to continue to receive federal money.

  2. DO man

    Merge everything… exams, GME, and even the letters after the name. If you go to an osteopathic designated program, and pass the “OMT supplemental” portion of the USMLE, you get OMc (Osteopathic manipulation certified) after your MD. So it’d be Dr. John Doe, MD, OMc.

    Quit preaching to us that we are the “same” but better, and then have a whole different accreditation and naming system. I’m on the trail now and am acutely aware of the bias.

    Also COCA needs to have an anonymous complaint process. There are several egregious rotation violations at my school, but I cannot report because if I do, I will subsequently lose my career and face intense scrutiny from my institution.

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