Dear AOA Pres. Dr. Vinn, et al.
This letter is in regard to, “Single accreditation for MDs and DOs by 2020,” in family practice news this month. We have been told by former AOA President Dr Ray Stowers that in recent years Osteopathic schools proliferated too quickly and created the need for more residencies than AOA could supply and government could fund. We were then told last year that the only solution would be to combine our Osteopathic GME with allopathic MD ACGME. In the article Dr. Vinn states, “… But Osteopathic training programs will still retain their unique focus.” He goes on to say, “this is an opportunity to both reinforce and proliferate or principles.” The question I raise is how is it possible to train, reinforce our principal teachings, philosophy and skills while not experiencing the potential disaster of the California experience of 1960?
As a product of, and believer in Osteopathic principles, schools, internships, residency training, postgraduate fellowships and CME, I believe our programs offer unique and distinct advantages over the other possibilities that exist. This unique Osteopathic approach to training, education and practice must be maintained for the betterment of human health. Under the plan to merge osteopathic graduate medical education with ACGME we would be absorbed, overrun and thereby changed to accommodate only the allopathic practice model.
Osteopathic graduate medical education has always strived for independence and excellence. This merger of programs would be a catastrophic mistake in the history of osteopathic medicine. Our DO distinctiveness would disappear from the practice of medicine of the merger goes to completion. The logical sequellae of the merger would be the loss of Osteopathic Medical philosophy in practice, as well as, all of our DO program directors will lose their jobs by the merger completion date of 2020.
I offer the DOs COMITT alternate plan to save Osteopathic training programs: The first step would be control of and smart steady growth of osteopathic schools, not uncontrolled proliferation. Osteopathic training programs produce diverse physicians with a large number of primary care specialty physicians including family medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, etc. The second step is the AOA to bring the data of our current primary care programs’ output to the government authorities and Congress that authorizes money for training programs. If we can mount a organized and cogent movement to convince the Congress and government leaders to champion the cause of primary care specialty training, they will support it for the good of the country’s health and their own political goals. Please consider this approach previous to your acceptance of the ACGME merger program which would destroy our osteopathic integrity.
Best wishes for good health,
Craig M. Wax, DO
Family physician, Editorial Board of Medical Economics
Host of Your Health Matters
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Independent Physicians For Patient independence @IP4PI