By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jake Berenguer, NMCSD Public Affairs Office
SAN DIEGO (February 11, 2010) – Naval Medical Center San Diego’s (NMCSD) Department of Orthopaedic Surgery was recently awarded full five-year accreditation – the highest level possible after enduring a rigorous evaluation by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) in July 2009.
The ACGME is responsible for the accreditation of post-MD medical training programs within the United States, through a review process based on established standards and guidelines. Since the last review in 2005, when the orthopaedic department earned a three year accreditation, a number of new programs and processes have been implemented which contributed to the higher accreditation.
“I feel this was a total team effort to achieve the highest possible level of accreditation,” said Capt. Dana. C. Covey, Chairman, Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. “It was a challenging accreditation process. The reason we were so successful was that all hands in our department contributed to the preparations, and we got great support from the Directors for Surgical Services and Professional Education, and by the command leadership.”
According to Covey, it was not simply being accredited, it was earning the highest level of accreditation, showing ACGME had great confidence in the orthopaedic surgery residency program.
“I think they looked at our program and saw great strengths and only minor weaknesses and felt it was worthy of their highest grade,” said Covey. According to Lt. Cmdr. Anthony I. Riccio, Residency Program Director, everyone on the orthopaedic staff contributed to the advanced planning and preparation for the evaluation. The ACGME sent a representative for an onsite examination that reviewed NMCSD’s paperwork, interviewed residents and staff members. ACGME looked at case loads, quality of residents, and percentage of board pass rates.
“We had to show that we are compliant in the six core competencies which are: medical knowledge, interpersonal skills and communication, patient care, professionalism and ethics, systems based practice and practice based learning,” said Riccio.
Over the past four years, NMCSD’s Orthopaedic department has reassessed the orthopaedic department working hours to ensure compliance with the 80 hour a week restriction, transitioned to a home call program for residents without compromising patient care, and has restructured the academic curriculum to establish an entire academic day, every Wednesday, in which residents are free from any clinical responsibilities.
According to Covey, the staff deserves all the credit for receiving a full accreditation. The staff actively engaged in teaching the residents through lectures, teaching in the operating rooms, scheduling surgical cases, mentoring interns on ethical and moral skills to assist with their professional growth.
“This accreditation process was truly led by our former Program Director, the late Cmdr. (Dr.) Michael T. Mazurek. Mike put a tremendous amount of work into this and was a driving force in making this happen and this is a great final testament to the great work that he did,” said Riccio.
For more information about NMCSD’s Orthopaedic department visit: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Patients/Pages /OrthopedicSurgeryClinic.aspx