Making Residency Work Hour Rules Work
5 Pages Posted: 21 Apr 2013
Date Written: April 20, 2013
In July 2011, the ACGME implemented new rules that limit interns to 16 hours of work in a row, but continue to allow 2nd-year and higher resident physicians to work for up to 28 consecutive hours. Whether the ACGME's 2011 work hour limits went too far or did not go far enough has been hotly debated. In this article, we do not seek to re-open the debate about whether these standards get matters exactly right. Instead, we wish to address the issue of effective enforcement. That is, now that new work hour limits have been established, and given that the ACGME has been unable to enforce work hour limits effectively on its own, what is the best way to make sure the new limits are followed in order to reduce harm to residents, patients, and others due to sleep-deprived residents? We focus on three possible national approaches to the problem, one rooted in funding, one rooted in disclosure, and one rooted in tort law. The definitive version of this article can be downloaded at Wiley-Blackwell website for this journal.
Keywords: Residency, Work Hours, Regulation, Sleep, Malpractice, Spending Clause, ACGME, Funding, Hospital
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