SLU School of Medicine put on probation

The Liaison Committee on Medical Education, which accredits allopathic medical education programs in the United States and Canada, has placed Saint Louis University School of Medicine on probation, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

According to LCME, a school on probation means the program "is not in substantial compliance with LCME accreditation standards. Such a determination may be based on the LCME's judgment that the areas of noncompliance have seriously compromised the quality of the medical education program, or that the program has failed to make satisfactory progress in achieving compliance after having been granted ample opportunity to do so."

The school remains accredited, but if it does not fix the deficiencies in a 24-month period, LCME may withdraw the school's accreditation. According to the Post-Dispatch, LCME found deficiencies in 20 percent of the 93 measures it examined.

SLU's medical school has been on probation since mid-February and notified students, employees and alumni Tuesday. Kevin Behrns, MD, the dean of the medical school who joined SLU in January, told the Post-Dispatch he is ready to launch a remediation plan.

"We will own the issues and fix them," Dr. Behrns told the paper.

The deficiencies found at SLU School of Medicine include:

  • Failing to link learning objectives to the skills students will need in the real world as a physician
  • Not sharing the responsibility for the learning environment between SLU and its affiliates
  • Allowing students to be supervised by physicians who are not faculty members at the medical school

SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital is the teaching hospital for SLU School of Medicine. According to the Post-Dispatch, senior leaders at SSM Health are aware of the probation status.

In a statement provided to Becker's, SSM Health said, "The LCME report regarding Saint Louis University's School of Medicine in no way reflects the care provided by SLUCare Physician Group to the patients of SSM Health. SSM Health and SLUCare have a long history of partnering together to provide high-quality, compassionate care to the people we serve, and that remains unchanged."

According to LCME, accreditation is important for medical schools as it "signifies that national standards for structure, function, and performance are met by a medical school's educational program leading to the MD degree. … Graduation from an LCME-accredited U.S. medical school and successful completion of national licensing examinations are accepted as prerequisites for medical licensure in most states."

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