It is my hope and prayer that each of you and your families are healthy and well despite the public health crisis in our midst.
With the health and safety of our members and communities being a primary concern, by now you know that our Annual Spring Meeting scheduled for April 22 -25, 2020 was cancelled. All members who registered for the meeting received a full refund of their registration fees. All exhibitors were fully refunded or offered the option of deferring their payment to the next Annual Meeting. The AOAO Board made the decision to offer topics virtually for members needing to take their certification or recertification exams.
The Virtual Osteopathic Orthopedic Board Review is available as an on demand educational activity. Registration is open now for any member and offers the convenience of viewing on your own time. Those needing CME credit may claim 8.0 total hours of Category 1-A CME credit.
As we approach our 2020 Annual Fall Meeting in Austin, Texas, in October, we are closely monitoring CDC and state and local authorities’ recommendations, insurer requirements, and other factors. The AOAO staff and Board of Directors will be evaluating all options as they pertain to the programs and activities offered at that meeting. As of this writing, consideration is being given to adding CME hours to this meeting for those members who may require additional hours for state requirements.
The ACGME has moved to virtual Review Committee meetings for the next several months. The recent RC meeting took place on April 17, 2020. A decision was made several weeks ago that the programs in continued pre-accreditation (CPA) without the required site visit would not be on the April agenda.
At the Review Committee meeting on April 17, PCOM was granted initial accreditation. I have been assured that the four programs in CPA (Aultman Hospital, Larkin Community Hospital, Garden City, and St. Anthony Hospital) will have an accreditation decision by June 30, 2020; however, there is some concern that this date may not be feasible in light of the current public health concerns. Both AOA and ACGME are well aware of the time crunch and the end of the MOU. I have been in conversations with the AOA and have been assured that a plan or solution will be forthcoming that will not penalize the programs that remain in CPA due to no fault of theirs. If the programs in CPA fail to achieve initial accreditation after the next review, those programs will have three choices. They can appeal the decision to the ACGME Board of Directors, submit a new application to the ACGME under the current application process for any new program or “teach out” the remaining residents under AOA accreditation.
Mountain View Regional Hospital, the program in Las Cruces, NM, has voluntarily withdrawn its ACGME application. I know that a new program director has been appointed and I have some unconfirmed information that it may reorganize with the intention of applying to ACGME as a new program. At any rate, the current residents will have the opportunity to finish their training in Las Cruces in an AOA-approved program and be board eligible for osteopathic certification.
In the most recent NRMP match, orthopedic surgery programs offered 849 PG-1 positions (94 more than the previous year). The overall fill rate was 99.4%. DOs filled 112 of the 849 positions. I have a couple of observations and comments about this data. Under the AOA match several years ago, the highest match number for orthopedics was 119. In light of the fact that six DO programs could not match this year due to the pre-accreditation status with ACGME, (representing approximately 20 positions), I am encouraged by the 112 matched positions by DOs. As more data is released by the NRMP, we will be able to identify the institutions that did indeed match DO candidates.
As so many organizations have around the globe, the AOAO staff have become a remote workforce. While we understand that this is not an option for you as a practicing orthopedic surgeon, we take seriously our responsibility and commitment to you, our members. Staff can be reached by email or phone during normal business hours. The AOAO staff are collectively doing their part to mitigate the spread of the COVID–19 disease. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your families, your teams, institutions and your patients. Please continue to protect and care for yourselves.