Whether you want to believe it or not, many training programs are in violation of the ACGME duty-hour standards. I’ve known this all along, primarily from talking with many people in residency that I keep in touch with on a regular basis.
The AMA has released a study that basically proves that the work hour standards are one big piece of political bullshit.
The study was a monthly web-based survey, and polled residents preimplementation and postimplementation of the work hour standards. The residents taking part in the survey completed 29,477 reports of their work and sleep hours.
Violations were reported during 3765 (44.0%; 95% CI, 43.0%-45.1%) of the 8553 intern-months assessed postimplementation (including vacation and ambulatory rotations), and during 2660 (61.5%; 95% CI, 60.0%-62.9%) of 4327 intern-months during which interns worked exclusively in inpatient settings.
There you have it, folks. Nearly half of all months had violations during ambulatory settings and nearly 62% of months had violations where interns were working on inpatient services.
The ACGME needs to start cracking some balls if they want programs to take these duty restrictions seriously. If nothing is done, or programs are simply slapped on the wrist, the system will continue to be abused and work hour restrictions will be nothing more than fudged numbers on some slip of paper in the program director’s office.