SOMC to phase out education program

By Wayne Allen

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In the coming years, Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) will phase out its Graduate Medical Education Program, due to changing regulations and increasing costs.

According to released information, “The American Osteopathic Association (AOA) and Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) are merging to create a unified accreditation system. The merger requires all AOA programs, such as SOMC to a adopt ACGME costs and requirements. This merger would require us to alter our medical education program in such a way that the program will be unsustainable in the future.”

As a result of the merger SOMC will begin to phase out its Graduate Medical Education programs over the coming years. By phasing this program out SOMC will no longer accept new residents to the programs.

“The graduate medical education program is something that has meant a lot to everyone at SOMC. The administration made a difficult decision in choosing to phase out the program, but it is one that is also necessary,” said Dr. Vincent Scarpinato in a released statement. “The impending AOA/ACGME merger would change the requirements for many programs like ours, increasing the financial commitment necessary for medical education to more than one million dollars a year for at least the next five years. That is money that we can now spend more directly on patient care.”

SOMC has committed to continue training healthcare professionals as long as the cost is sustainable.

“This is a challenge that I predict many smaller programs will face. Phasing out the program is the right decision financially, however it will be done in a way that will continue to support our current residents. By phasing out the program, rather than ending it immediately, SOMC is ensuring that none of our interns or residents will be displaced and that all will be able to graduate from an accredited program,” Scarpinato said in a released statement.

According to SOMC, all AOA programs must be compliant with ACGME standards by 2020, resulting in a significant increase to the costs of these programs. It’s estimated current SOMC residents will complete their training by 2019, at which the Graduate Medical Education program will end.

“While the graduate medical education program will end after our current residents complete their training, SOMC will still welcome medical students – and I have no doubt that they will have a great experience here,” Scarpinato said.

Wayne Allen can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 1933 or on Twitter @WayneallenPDT

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