The American College of Osteopathic Emergency Physicians (ACOEP), a national association representing the interests of osteopathic emergency physicians, stands in support of the Memorandum of Understanding for a single pathway for graduate medical education in the United States and uniting the educational systems of the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) and the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

ACOEP holds the strong belief that without the training opportunities made available through this single pathway the osteopathic profession will be unable to train its graduates and ultimately all specialties will fail. While it cannot comment on other specialty areas, it feels strongly that emergency medicine residency programs will be able to transition over the five-year period and continue to train emergency physicians to care for the American public.

“After long and meaningful discussions with leaders and members of ACOEP we are confident in this endorsement,” says ACOEP Board President Mark Mitchell, DO, FACOEP. “Although we have some areas of concern, we are confident that these steps will ultimately benefit physicians and patients alike.”

One such concern is comments made regarding the credentialing and recognition of program directors in current osteopathic programs. ACOEP strongly states that this core group of physicians has more than proven their capabilities to effectively train highly qualified emergency physicians and should not be made to apply for positions that they have held for years. The College’s credentialing processes, from scholarly activity to board and continuing certification has kept pace with ACGME standards and their credentialing processes. The AOA, American Osteopathic Board of Emergency Medicine (AOBEM) certification should be recognized as equal to American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS)/American Board of Emergency Medicine (ABEM) certification.

Prior meetings between ACOEP and the ACGME Resident Review Committee (RRC) for Emergency Medicine produced few discrepancies within each set of standards. Major areas of concern were identified as protected time for program directors/ associate program directors, and core faculty, as well as faculty research requirements. At the meeting in April 2014, ACGME officials did not find AOA certification or the program length to be issues. Currently 11% of AOA emergency medicine programs are dually accredited with AOA/AOBEM certified physicians holding program director positions.