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Single GME Policy

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Single GME guidelines for residency & fellowship training programs

If your program plans to accept new trainees who will graduate after June 30, 2020, these are the processes you'll need to follow.

As part of the transition to the single graduate medical education (GME) accreditation system, AOA-accredited programs must follow certain policies, such as meeting specified application deadlines in order to continue to accept new trainees whose graduation date falls after June 30, 2020. These policies and deadlines are outlined in Section X of the AOA’s basic documents for postdoctoral training.

Application Assistance Program

The AOA’s Single Accreditation System (SAS) Application Assistance Program is available to help graduate medical education programs throughout the ACGME application process. The program offers guidance in completing an application with access to AOA staff experts and professional consultants who are familiar with the single accreditation program.

SAS Application Assistance


Updates to AOA Section X policies

On March 1, 2018, the AOA Board of Trustees approved revisions to Section X of the AOA Basic Documents for Postdoctoral Training. To summarize:

  • AOA programs that have not achieved ACGME accreditation by May 1, 2018, will need to complete a form and receive approval from the Program and Trainee Review Council in order to accept trainees for the 2019-2020 academic year (via the 2019 AOA Match or otherwise).
  • This does not affect programs 1 or 2 years in length, which according to Section X must apply for ACGME accreditation by Jan. 1, 2019 in order to accept trainees for the 2019-2020 academic year.
  • All affected programs have been individually emailed by the AOA.
  • Affected programs will not be able to recruit or accept ERAS applications until a determination has been made by PTRC (estimated July 19, 2018).

The Section X revisions also require that programs that have received Continued Pre-Accreditation twice from an ACGME Review Committee utilize the AOA’s Application Assistance Program. The revisions also refine the process for programs that have not achieved ACGME accreditation by July 1, 2019.


Contracting after the Section X deadline

If a program does not meet its Section X deadline, it will not be permitted in the subsequent AOA Match. If the program applies for ACGME accreditation after its Section X deadline, programs may contract with trainees, following the below process:

  • Any Out-of-Match or Post-Match issuance of a contract after the Section X deadline date must be reported to and approved by the program’s OPTI Chief Academic Officer (CAO).
  • The OPTI CAO will monitor every one of the OPTI programs’ ACGME application status.
  • No contract approval shall be granted by an OPTI CAO without documenting prior ACGME accreditation application submission and pre-accreditation status.
  • In the event that a program submits an ACGME application and is granted pre-accreditation status after the Jan. 1 deadline, the OPTI CAO may approve a contract to be issued only after the AOA Match, NRMP Match and NRMP Supplemental Offer and Acceptance Program have concluded for that year.

Consequences for violating Section X

Any program that has not submitted an ACGME application, but accepts new trainees after the Section X deadline date, is subject to immediate review of its AOA accreditation by the Program and Trainee Review Council (PTRC) with possible sanctions up to and including loss of accreditation.

  • At the time of discovery, the program’s Opportunities database information will be updated to indicate that the program’s accreditation is under review.
  • All of the program’s trainees and any trainees extended a contract must be notified of the program’s AOA accreditation status by the program director, with documentation of notification provided to the PTRC.


New AOA residency applications during transition

New residency applications will only be accepted under exceptional circumstances as determined by the specialty college evaluating committee. Programs are encouraged to apply directly to ACGME and seek Osteopathic Recognition.


Postponement of scheduled AOA on-site reviews (inspections)

Postponement of a program’s scheduled AOA on-site review (Inspection) is available for:

  • Programs that have ACGME pre-accreditation or continued pre-accredited status and received a 5-year continuing approval on their last AOA inspection.
  • Programs that have ACGME initial or continued accreditation

Fellowship Section X waiver process

The ACGME application process only allows subspecialty/fellowship programs to submit an accreditation application if their core residency program has achieved initial accreditation.  The fellowship can complete the application, but the ACGME application system will not allow the application to be “submitted.” To address this issue, the PTRC approved the following waiver process for fellowships in this situation.


Three-year EM programs and the AOA Match

AOA emergency medicine programs that achieve ACGME accreditation as 3-year programs may not participate in the AOA Match unless the program achieves ACGME accreditation during the Match cycle. ​​ ​​​​​​​​


Webinar: Single GME guide for emergency medicine program directors

In this webinar, emergency medicine residency program directors learned how to navigate the transition to a single accreditation system for graduate medical education and why applying for osteopathic recognition is beneficial.

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