Summa Health ER Training Program Loses Accreditation

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Summa Health’s Emergency Department - in Akron - has been placed on probation and will have to stop its medical training program. 

A national group which oversees accreditation of doctor training programs, Accreditation Council on Graduate Medical Education, told the hospital to end the ER medical residency program on July 1.

Some 30 medical residents were notified by hospital officials that the program was placed on probation.

About 10 of them are expected to graduate in June, so the probation will not affect them, but the other 20 will have to find new hospitals to finish their emergency room training.

Case Western Reserve University Professor of Health and Finance,  J.B. Silvers, said the move will have a ripple effect in the ER.

“It’s very inconvenient for the residents. They have got to find another place to get the rest of their training and for the hospital it leaves them shorthanded so they’re definitely gonna be in difficult straights," Silvers said.

Many of the patients from the ER are often admitted into the hospital, so losing staff in the ER may also impact the number of patients ultimately admitted for longer stays, he added.

Hospital officials declined an interview request but in a written statement said there were many reasons the ER was placed on probation, including the recent replacement of the all the doctors who staffed the ER for many years.

Chief operating officer Valerie Gibson said in the statement that, “The decision to transition to a new emergency medicine services provider was absolutely the right decision to make for our community, but I am sorry for the impact it has had on the organization."

Officials from the accreditation group also declined to discuss the reasons for placing the ER on probation. A spokesman for the group said communication with accredited groups are considered confidential.

Silvers, who served as a member of a different medical accreditation group, said it is very rare for those type of organizations to levy what he called the ultimate punishment—probation. Hospitals are often given warnings and many chances to fix any perceived problems.

“The loss all the staff that had been running that department for many years and a whole brand new group is coming in, so they (the accredidation group)vobviously didn’t have as much confidence in the replacement docs as they had in the original docs," he said.

The probation does not affect residents training in other hospital departments --  just the ER.

Summa officials said they plan to appeal the decision.

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