80 hours limit for residents

Discussion in 'Clinical Rotations' started by gg, Jun 12, 2002.

  1. gg

    gg Member

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    I think it's important for every med student.

    Work Rules Set for Medical Residents
    By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

    Filed at 5:23 p.m. ET

    NEW HAVEN, Conn. (AP) -- Hoping to reduce the risk of dangerous errors by sleep-deprived doctors-in-training, an accreditation group for the nation's teaching hospitals announced new limits Wednesday on how many hours medical residents can work.

    The rules approved by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education are the first national limits ever put on the total number of hours that medical residents in any specialty can be on duty.

    Residents' work weeks will be limited to 80 hours and they must get at least 10 hours of rest between shifts. Also, they will not be allowed to be on duty for more than 24 hours straight. The new standards can be exceeded by as much as eight hours for approved educational reasons.

    The council retained standards set in the 1980s that say residents should get one day in seven off and should not be on call more often than one day out of three.

    The new rules take effect in July 2003.

    ``This will really require a revolution in the way residents' hours are structured,'' said Dr. Peter Herbert, chief of staff at Yale-New Haven Hospital, which was sanctioned by the council last month for overworking surgical residents.

    At hospitals around the country, there are often no limits on the total number of hours most medical residents can work in a week, though some specialties already impose 80-hour limits. Some doctors-in-training complain that they routinely toil more than 100 hours a week and are on call every other night.

    Dr. David Leach, executive director of the accreditation council, said the long, punishing hours required of medical students can lead to errors that harm patients and can undermine doctors' education, because they can become too exhausted too learn effectively.

    ``Residents are doing more in less time with less help,'' he said. ``We felt, in recognizing that phenomenon, we needed to strengthen our standards.''

    Hospitals and doctors wondered how residents will be able to get all the training they need. They also said the rules could cost teaching hospitals millions of dollars to hire more doctors.

    Grueling hours have been part of doctors' training for generations, and many older doctors believe such trial-by-fire training teaches physicians to make hard decisions when they are fatigued and under pressure.

    In decades past, most residents followed a grueling schedule of 36 hours on and 12 hours off every two days.

    ``As much as it was traditional, it was not a good system,'' Herbert said. ``People have even commented on the idea that it contributes to the dehumanization of doctors in training.''

    The accreditation council said the new rules are a response to changes in medicine that are putting more demands on doctors. Doctors are putting patients through batteries of tests that did not exist decades ago. At the same time, hospitals have cut back on nurses and support staff, so residents often end up doing paperwork and other mundane tasks.

    An 80-hour week already is standard for residents who are studying to become emergency room doctors, said Dr. J. Brian Hancock, vice president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.

    ``We've come a long way in realizing that the health and well-being of residents is absolutely critical to our learning process,'' he said.

    The council said it would act more quickly to sanction violators. The council can punish teaching hospitals by withdrawing its accreditation, a move that can cost the institutions students and millions of dollars in federal funding.

    The Association of American Medical Colleges endorsed the new rules and said it would urge hospitals to comply. The group said, however, it must study how much the standards will cost.

    The American Medical Association is scheduled to issue its own recommendations next week.

    The Committee of Interns and Residents, a residents union, approved of the new requirements but said they will be difficult to enforce. The group has backed legislation in Congress to put 80-hour workweeks and other resident benefits into law.

    ``Only a strong, enforceable federal law will protect the health of patients and resident physicians,'' said Angela Nossett, a chief resident at Harbor/UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

    New York State already limits medical residents to 80 hours a week and no more than 24 hours at a stretch -- restrictions prompted by the death of a patient named Libby Zion in New York City 1984.

    Zion died at New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center after being admitted with a high fever. A grand jury determined that long hours worked by unsupervised residents and interns contributed to her death.

    The council has studied the issue for a year, and had been cracking down on hospitals that violated its old standards. Last year, the council cited 18 percent of the programs it reviewed for overworking surgical residents.
     
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  3. Anath

    Anath Senior Member

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    I just read about this this morning and I am soo absolutely stoked. I was telling someone just last night how I hope that by the time we are residents (we're class of 2006), that there will be a limit in the number of hours residents worked. I wouldn't even mind it if it meant being in residency for another year b/c that could be valuable time spent with family or whatever else you value to do with your time! :)

    It is about time that steps have officially been taken to try and combat this problem! Lives have been put at risk and it's amazing that such a thing has not been done sooner.

    One problem however is enforcement of such a mandate. NY has had an 80 hour limit for a couple years I believe, and on a whole, it is largely unenforced according to past articles I have read on the issue. Let's hope that this will not be taken lightly by the teaching hospitals.
     
  4. Mary the Med Student

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    I am thrilled that the new regulations are in place, but I still think that the issue should be legislated. I will be part of the first class that the new regs effect, so I may not actually benefit during my internship year. But hey, someone is listening. What a unique idea.

    -Mary
     
  5. Hendooneh

    Hendooneh Member

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    It should not mean another year in any residency. The truth is that most residents spend a lot of their time doing tasks that have nothing what so ever with their education. They are used as cheap labor because hospitals pay them a set salary which is not based on hours worked what so ever. All of this was tolerated before because doctors were very handsomely paid after residency and very well respected generally in the community so you could think of residency as paying your dues. We all know that doctor's salaries aren't what they used to be and to be working those insane amount of hours, with loans to repay is just undue pressure.
     
  6. </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by Hendooneh:
    <strong>It should not mean another year in any residency. The truth is that most residents spend a lot of their time doing tasks that have nothing what so ever with their education. They are used as cheap labor because hospitals pay them a set salary which is not based on hours worked what so ever. All of this was tolerated before because doctors were very handsomely paid after residency and very well respected generally in the community so you could think of residency as paying your dues. We all know that doctor's salaries aren't what they used to be and to be working those insane amount of hours, with loans to repay is just undue pressure.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">u tell em hendooneh jan <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> :D
     
  7. Fanconi

    Fanconi Senior Member

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    Yeah! *high fives to classes of 2003!!!*

    Just one question - -

    How is this really gonna work? I'm stumped.

    <img src="http://www.geocities.com/metalmedicine/Fanconiw.jpg" alt=" - " />
     
  8. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member

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    As others have noted on other posts, it's one thing to create legislation, another to enforce it.

    If the Bell Commission for New York State is any indication, and that piece of 'mandatory' legislation has been on the books for 13 years now, I'd like to see why the new legislation will be any different. NYS residency programs have been skirting the Bell Commission guidelines for years.
     
  9. gg

    gg Member

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    Well, we didn't have to wait too long for the response.

    Limits on Residents' Hours Worry Teaching Hospitals
    By REED ABELSON

    Many of the nation's teaching hospitals, already under financial pressure, are raising concerns about the effect of new rules that will limit the number of hours worked by medical residents.

    "For academic medical centers, the impact is going to be profound," said Dr. Peter Herbert, the chief of staff for Yale-New Haven Hospital, a teaching affiliate of the Yale School of Medicine, who estimates that the cost for some hospitals could run into the millions of dollars.

    The rules, which are being imposed by the group that accredits teaching hospitals, will limit the average workweek to 80 hours and restrict a resident's duty to no more than 24 hours at a time.

    Some hospitals consider residents an inexpensive source of labor. Some residents say they work 100 hours or more a week. Having significantly cut back on nurses and other staff, hospitals rely heavily on these new doctors, who spend several years training at a hospital after earning their medical degrees.

    In addition to caring for patients, particularly the poor and uninsured, these doctors often handle paperwork, transport patients and perform tasks once delegated to others.

    The new rules, which are aimed at reducing the risk of dangerous errors by inexperienced doctors who are sleep deprived, will take effect in July 2003. They are being applied by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, which oversees the training of 100,000 residents in the nation's 7,800 programs.

    While some specialties already limit residents' workweeks, the new rules will apply to all training programs and could require many hospitals to change how they staff.

    Yale-New Haven Hospital, whose surgery program was threatened with a loss of accreditation because of the long hours residents worked, is hiring 12 physician associates to reduce the residents' workload, Dr. Herbert said.

    "There is a huge financial hit," said Dr. Jon Cohen, the chief medical officer for the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, which, like other New York hospitals, has had to adapt to a law that already limits residents' hours.

    The cost of two to three physician assistants can run as high as $200,000 a year, compared with $50,000 to pay a medical resident, Dr. Cohen said. "No one knows where that money is going to come from," he said.

    Many hospitals acknowledge that the new rules will require significant changes in how they do things and how they view residents.

    "The big cultural change is the institutions have to recognize and treat residents as students," Dr. Cohen of North Shore said.

    Some say this will force teaching hospitals to think seriously about the best way to deliver care and educate residents.

    "The real challenge for us is to redesign the health care delivery model," said Dr. Thomas J. Nasca, dean of the Jefferson Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University.

    In New York, the cost of adopting the law limiting residents' hours was estimated by the state at $220 million a year, some of which the hospitals recovered through higher reimbursements.

    The New York law took effect in 1989, and a study done in the late 1990's suggested that many hospitals, particularly in New York City, were still asking residents to work longer hours than the law required. In recent years, however, enforcement of the law has been increased, and many hospitals have made more significant changes in their staffing.

    New York hospitals are not likely to feel much impact from the new rules, said Kenneth Raske, the president of the Greater New York Hospital Association, with the exception of some surgical programs where hospitals are still allowed to ask their residents to work longer hours. "The surgical programs need to have some flexibility," Mr. Raske said.

    Depending on how the hospital uses residents and the services they provide, the cost of complying will vary widely, the American Hospital Association said. "We really don't understand the cost or the adaptions," said James Bentley, the group's senior vice president for strategic policy planning.

    While some hospitals will hire senior nurses or physician assistants, others may rely more on other doctors and may curtail some of the areas where residents provide care, Mr. Bentley said.

    But hiring nurses or physician assistants may not add significantly to costs, others say. "The financial impact won't be catastrophic," said Mark V. Pauly, a professor of health care at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

    Still, the new rules are an example of rising costs for hospitals, said Mr. Bentley, who said the association was working to prevent cuts in federal and state payments that would further weaken the financial condition of many of its members.

    Even specialities like internal medicine that already adhere to 80-hour workweek will have to adjust. At the University of Chicago hospitals many residents work 36 or 38 hours at a time to be able to provide follow-up care and attend educational programs, said Dr. Holly Humphrey, who oversees the residents in internal medicine. The 24-hour limit, even with a possible additional six hours for handing off patients or attending lectures, "is a big, big change," Dr. Humphrey said.

    She is concerned that residency programs will "take on a mentality of shift work," she said.
     
  10. Magree

    Magree Senior Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> $50,000 to pay a medical resident, </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">What residency program pays 50K? Sign me up! ;)Also I think they should rephrase from "Some hospitals" see residents as cheap labor to "Most hospitals see...". I don't know too many that don't just see residents as scut monkeys.

    M-
     
  11. NuMD97

    NuMD97 Senior Member

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    Originally posted by Magee:

    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif"> What residency program pays 50K? Sign me up! <img border="0" title="" alt="[Wink]" src="wink.gif" /> </font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">See the extensive discussion on the other thread that includes this topic. Also note the separate thread started about typical residents' salaries.
     
  12. Sabreman

    Sabreman Member

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    The Boston Globe reported this story with the headline "New Resident Work Week Limit Set at 80 Hours" or something like that. The lady sitting next to me saw that and said "My God, they're going to make you work 80 hours now?!". She thought they were raising our hours to 80 and was shocked and appalled (I love saying "shocked and appalled")! <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" /> <img border="0" alt="[Laughy]" title="" src="graemlins/laughy.gif" />
     
  13. MacGyver

    MacGyver Banned
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    "The cost of two to three physician assistants can run as high as $200,000 a year, compared with $50,000 to pay a medical resident, Dr. Cohen said. "No one knows where that money is going to come from," he said."

    Two things need to be said about this statement:

    #1) 50,000 is NOT a typical salary for a resident. Perhaps if you are a 4th year neurosurg resident you might make that much, but thats clearly an exceptional resident salary and not the norm

    #2) Hospitals pay NOTHING for resident training. The "50,000" he cites is completely paid by Medicare. Hospitals in fact pay zero cost to train residents, but to the contrary actually make a profit on what Medicare funds them for each residency position.
     
  14. Voxel

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    Actually the Bell Commission does work if you are in a non-surgical specialty. Many programs in nyc do well to stay very close to the 80 hrs/wk, 1 day off per week, and not going much more than 24hours per shift. For the surgical subspecialties it is different, but I would wager the hours are still less than residents in neighboring NJ,PA, and CT. For all the cynacism, the Bell Commission has made residents in nyc on average work less hours and less straight hours than their peers.
     
  15. A-Phi-A

    A-Phi-A Member

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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by MacGyver:
    <strong>"The cost of two to three physician assistants can run as high as $200,000 a year, compared with $50,000 to pay a medical resident, Dr. Cohen said. "No one knows where that money is going to come from," he said."

    Two things need to be said about this statement:

    #1) 50,000 is NOT a typical salary for a resident. Perhaps if you are a 4th year neurosurg resident you might make that much, but thats clearly an exceptional resident salary and not the norm

    #2) Hospitals pay NOTHING for resident training. The "50,000" he cites is completely paid by Medicare. Hospitals in fact pay zero cost to train residents, but to the contrary actually make a profit on what Medicare funds them for each residency position.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The 50,000 figure must include the benfits package residents recieve if it is to make any sense at all
     
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  17. Winged Scapula

    Winged Scapula Cougariffic!
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    </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by A-Phi-A:
    <strong> </font><blockquote><font size="1" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">quote:</font><hr /><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">Originally posted by MacGyver:
    <strong>"The cost of two to three physician assistants can run as high as $200,000 a year, compared with $50,000 to pay a medical resident, Dr. Cohen said. "No one knows where that money is going to come from," he said."

    Two things need to be said about this statement:

    #1) 50,000 is NOT a typical salary for a resident. Perhaps if you are a 4th year neurosurg resident you might make that much, but thats clearly an exceptional resident salary and not the norm

    #2) Hospitals pay NOTHING for resident training. The "50,000" he cites is completely paid by Medicare. Hospitals in fact pay zero cost to train residents, but to the contrary actually make a profit on what Medicare funds them for each residency position.</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The 50,000 figure must include the benfits package residents recieve if it is to make any sense at all</strong></font><hr /></blockquote><font size="2" face="Verdana, Helvetica, sans-serif">The $50,000 quote can be the result of several things:

    1) the writer is including benefits packages which may make the average salary close to $50,000 across the US

    2) the writer is using the salary from Chiefs or Fellows

    3) the writer is looking at average salaries in some areas of the country (ie, New York) where it IS possible to make $50,000.

    There is a WIDE range of resident salaries across the country. Typically the places with the higher costs of living pay more; however, there are glaring exceptions. Washington DC/Northern VA have some of the lowest pay scales for residents. NYC typically pays a lot but San Francisco generally pays no more than other areas in California which are far less expensive to live in.

    We discussed this in another thread where it was pointed out that it IS possible to make $50,000 as a resident.
     

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