The USF maternal-fetal medical fellowship program lost its accreditation from the American Board of Obstetrics and Genecology earlier this month. The reason might have been conflict between the program’s directors.
This is not the first time the program, which deals with high-risk pregnancies, has not met the board’s standards. In 2005, the program was put on probation because of academic problems.
David Keefe, chairman of obstetrics and gynecology, said he began working at USF when the maternal fetal medical program was first suspended.
Dr. Ruben Quintero, the director of the program, oversaw faculty at two clinics.
Keefe said there was friction between Dr. Adam Urato, an employee who worked with the now unaffiliated with the University clinic in Manatee and Quintero. It began shortly after they began working together. Urato was unable to work seven days a week, so he wanted Quintero to cover for him during his time off.
Quintero could not cover for Urato, so the fellowship team had to work out of the clinic without either doctor supervising, Keefe said.
He said the fellows would send ultrasounds by computer to Quintero if they had any questions.
“Then (Quintero) looked at it by Internet instead of standing right there. That’s how radiologists do it all the time,” Keefe said. “The board said no, so we got a different doctor to cover for them.”
Keefe said Urato eventually decided he couldn’t work with Quintero anymore.
Urato complained to the board that the fellows were overworked and poorly supervised, Keefe said.
The board reviewed the program in October. It felt the fellowship program hadn’t changed since it was put on probation, so its accreditation was taken away earlier this month.
Ten citations against the program backed the decision.
One of the citations claimed the program director did not publish any papers, when in fact Quintero publishes about one a month. The board had the wrong division director listed, which caused the misunderstanding, Keefe said.
“Out of the 10 citations the board served us, there is only one we can do anything about, and that is the level of supervision and work,” Keefe said.
To correct the supervision citation, Keefe said that from now on, those in the maternal-fetal medicine program will be designated as trainees instead of faculty instructors. The sole distinction between the two is that trainees work shorter hours, spending more time on education.
Until now, the maternal-fetal medicine program has hired faculty, not trainees, said Dr. Peter Fabri, associate dean of graduate medical education.
“The faculty of the Genesis Clinic have all attended four years of college, four years of medical school, and completed four years as a resident,” Keefe said. “What they are doing is spending an extra three years after their full residency training, where they spend about a year taking care of high-risk patients and then two years doing research and research projects. There are three of them, one per year, at USF.”
The fellows at USF will be allowed to finish their education, but USF cannot recruit any new members until the program has regained accreditation.
Fabri said he believes the fellowship program will regain accreditation quickly.
“It is entirely at the discretion of the board, but I don’t see it taking longer than three months,” he said.
USF has 82 other medical programs, none of which are on probation, he said.
“Whenever you have an organization, there are people who are very disgruntled. It (the conflict) has been a highly political thing right from the beginning, and it has spun out of control, I think to the detriment of USF,” Keefe said.
Urato has already left the clinic, and Quintero will soon leave to take a job in Miami.
“We are hoping we will move on,” said Keefe.
Urato and Quintero were not available to comment.