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Anesthesiology program faces deaccreditation

The anesthesiology program at USF may be going under.

Already on probation, the anesthesiology residency program failed to meet its requirements for accreditation according to a May 2 letter from the Residency Review Committee for Anesthesiology. The committee, which operates under the authority of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, highlighted several problems and areas of non-compliance in USF’s program and recommended it be stripped of its accreditation.

The main focus of the letter was USF’s “lack of adequate institutional support for the anesthesiology residency program,” which stemmed from the program’s agreement to have its residents trained by a private group – Florida Gulf-to-Bay Anesthesiology Associates – instead of Tampa General Hospital, where residents had been training.

The deal was supposed to revive the struggling program, which was placed on probation March 18, 2004.

Instead the committee found, in a second review, that faculty members had little experience in training residents and were short of qualified staff, having only four faculty members from USF with the rest on a voluntary or adjunct status.

The letter also noted that the faculty did not provide adequate supervision of the residents and has done little in the way of scholarly activity and publication.

The committee also pointed out residents’ poor performance on certifying examinations from 2000-04, when 54 percent of residents achieved certification.

The program’s elimination would not occur until July 2008. The College of Medicine has until July 1 to respond to the committee’s claims, after which it can appeal the decision, restructure the program or shut down.

According to a May 10 letter from Dr. Stephen Klasko, the dean of the College of Medicine, the committee that performed its on-site survey on Dec. 13, 2005 failed to take into account that after Dr. Enrico Camporesi was hired to chair the anesthesiology department and bring it out of probation, the percentage of residents to achieve board certification improved to more than 90 percent.

According to Dr. Peter J. Fabri, the associate dean of graduate medical education, plans are in place to fix the anesthesiology program – the only of USF’s 62 residency programs to ever be put on probation.

“We’re doing a lot of things,” Fabri said. “We’ve met with the hospital. I’ve had several meetings with the residents. We’ve met with the anesthesia (faculty) and the chairman of the department of anesthesia and I have met quite a number of times.”

Fabri said the goal of the College of Medicine is to keep the anesthesiology program accredited however it can, but if the program does lose its accreditation, only one currently enrolled class of residents will be affected.

One resident of the anesthesiology program told an Oracle reporter that they were instructed not to comment.

In the review, the committee also said the residents “feared retribution for negative comments they made in the course of the survey interviews concerning the program or an individual faculty member’s performance as a clinician or educator.”