Letter: Merger with ACGME could doom osteopathic medical education

November 6, 2014

A reader opposes the merger of osteopathic and allopathic medical training into a single program.

Thanks for publishing Shannon Scott, DO’s opinions on the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education and Osteopathic Graduate Medical Education merger (“DOs will benefit from unified GME system,” September 10, 2014).

Certainly there are many issues and variables to be considered. The concerns I raised about the merger are primarily based in fact on the report of Norman Gevitz, PhD, “The Unintended Consequences of the ACGME Merger.” (Available at bit.ly/1sR73KH)

Gevitz has been the preeminent researcher and historian of the osteopathic profession for 30 years. His concerns, as detailed in his report of April 2013, are troubling and require extreme caution if the AOA pursues this merger. His assertions and apprehensions, based on the history and actions of the osteopathic profession at large, spell possible loss and disaster for the osteopathic graduate education system, osteopathic medical schools, and the profession’s independence. By 2021, ACGME will be in control of the osteopathic graduate medical education system and will be free to fire all DOs and reject their philosophy in formerly DO training programs.

My concerns are threefold:

1. I am concerned that the AOA (American Osteopathic Association) has been pursuing this for a decade without addressing his work concerns and members’ concerns, such as mine. Again, this is an example of the AOA’s top-down management style rather than bottom-up parliamentary rule as is expressed in their bylaws and mission.

2. Gevitz’s detailed report spells out the domino effect that could result from the ACGME merger of the course. This may
result in the loss of osteopathic OGME programs and input in future ACGME programs, and the loss of the profession at large.

3. The AOA steadfastly refuses to publish any editorials or papers that differ from the AOAs official policy in “The D.O.” and “The JAOA.” Further, the AOA administration has inappropriately tried to withdraw motions and pervert parliamentary procedures at house of delegates business meetings to subvert DO member resolutions and actions.

The osteopathic profession began in 1874 when A.T. Still, MD became frustrated with the current state of medicine and healthcare. His thoughts, actions, persistence and courage to pursue a novel school of medical care are legendary and paramount. We must not allow government and its arbitrary funding goals to determine our profession’s course or the care of our patients.

 

Craig M. Wax, DO

 Mullica Hill, New Jersey