DMC cardiology residency program under scrutiny months after top leaders step down

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education will reportedly visit Detroit Medical Center's cardiology residency program in February, roughly five months after several top program directors were asked to resign or step down, Crain's Detroit Business reports.

The accreditation agency issued a letter to DMC in December informing officials of the impending site visit Feb. 8. The agency is reportedly concerned about the residents in the program after learning of major faculty changes to the program and changes in locations where residents' training takes place.

An ACGME official confirmed the Dec. 20 letter and the site visit to Crain's, but would not answer questions related to the visit. The organization said any final action would take place during its April meeting.

The visit comes roughly five months after at least four top DMC cardiologists were relieved of their administrative duties and leadership positions for allegedly violating the system's code of conduct. Two sources familiar with the matter told Crain's a fifth cardiologist was also removed from the program. The cardiologists claim DMC retaliated against them after they complained about staffing issues and service reductions that have allegedly affected patient care.

Several residents in DMC's cardiology program wrote a letter to administration Dec. 28 expressing concern over the department's leadership changes.

"It has been a disservice to our education to not be permitted to work with them and see their roles have diminished over the last few months," they wrote. "The replacement physicians have not been able to match the education, procedures and high standards of patient care that has been traditionally provided by these physicians."

One of the cardiologists who was forced to step down, Ted Schreiber, MD, sent a letter to the ACGME on Nov. 4 notifying them that he had been removed from his position after 14 years "without justification, notice or due process," according to the letter obtained by Crain's.

In a Jan. 25 statement to Becker's Hospital Review, DMC said it is proud of its stature as a teaching institution to more than 1,100 residents and welcomes the opportunity to discuss changes to the cardiology program during the last several years with the ACGME.

"We made the changes in the cardiology service line for reasons that we have been clear about — standards of conduct violations that involved bullying of DMC team members including nurses, ancillary staff and physician colleagues. We believe the cardiology program is better off for it, and we have received favorable feedback from fellows that the program now offers a much richer learning environment."

"Our priorities start and end with providing great patient care. The cardiology leadership changes we made to foster a better atmosphere for teaching residents and fostering teamwork are a great example of that."

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