ABMS Navigates the Impact of COVID-19
As the worldwide health care community continues to navigate and respond to the ever-changing Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) landscape, the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) is committed to supporting board certified specialists and trainees as they work on the front lines to combat this novel coronavirus.
Early in the pandemic on March 13, ABMS reached out to designated institutional officials to assure them that, “in most cases, specialty boards’ existing leave policies will cover training disruptions caused by quarantine, and boards are supportive of creative strategies to recognize learning opportunities that can take place during such times. In situations in which quarantine impedes completion of on-time training, boards are receptive to case-by-case discussions and do not wish to penalize trainees for situations beyond their control.” In a subsequent statement on March 26, ABMS affirmed its support for physicians to focus on their patient care priorities as the demands of COVID-19 accelerate. On April 10, ABMS joined the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education to issue a statement of joint principles to provide clarity for trainees and programs during this pandemic.
In addition to these statements, ABMS is participating in the cross-organizational Coalition of Physician Accountability (CPA) to ensure standards of medical training are upheld while adapting those standards to account for the changes demanded by COVID-19. On May 18, CPA released the final report of its work group on Learner Transitions from Medical Schools to Residency Programs in 2020. The report provides important and timely recommendations to mitigate the effects of pandemic-related disruption in the transition from undergraduate medical education to graduate medical education for more than 30,000 medical school graduates who will begin first-year (PGY-1) residency positions in the United States in the coming months.
As part of ABMS’ commitment to provide resources to physicians during this pandemic, it created a dedicated COVID-19 website page that includes information for board certified physicians, trainees, and program directors regarding continuing certification programming and offers direct access to each Member Board’s COVID-19 website page for specific program details. In addition, ABMS and the boards community have been actively supporting efforts to obtain much needed resources for front line health care providers, including sending a letter to the Trump administration regarding the need for personal protective equipment.
As a community, ABMS appreciates the extraordinary efforts of the specialty medical professionals and trainees who are working tirelessly to treat and monitor those exposed to or diagnosed with COVID-19, and ABMS recognizes the associated enhanced health risks and potential for disruptions in both training and certification. ABMS’ primary concern is for the health and well-being of these individuals and patients and the desire to maintain a strong and effective health care workforce.
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