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Update to Program Directors - Training Issues

Mar. 16, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney , 215-568-4000

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases continues to grow and measures are put in place to make the best use of hospital space and ensure the safety of both trainees and faculty, ABS is aware that these decisions will have an impact on training and may lead to gaps in requirements that are needed for ABS examinations. We fully intend to support trainees in focusing first and foremost on this global crisis.

Partial solutions are currently in place:

  • Trainees can use the time allotted for parental leave towards any COVID-19-related time away from clinical. ABS will consider on a case-by-case basis those situations in which a resident or fellow missed training for an extended period due to severe coronavirus-related illness or quarantine. Extending the chief year or the 6-Year option may be applied in some of these cases. See Training and Certification for additional information on your specialty’s leave policy.
  • Residents who cannot take FLS or FES due to the closure of centers or institutional travel ban will be able to register for the 2020 General Surgery Qualifying Examination without those certificates, but will need them in order to register for a 2020-21 Certifying Examination.

We have received information about other challenges such as meeting case numbers. Each of our specialty boards are meeting this week to formulate a plan for handling issues related to gaps in training requirements. This issue and its solution will be subject to change as the situation with this virus continues.

ABS wants all trainees and diplomates to be able to concentrate on performing the critical work they do to weather this crisis, both professionally and personally. We will do what we can to minimize the impact it will have on careers. These decisions are being made as early on as possible, but take some time to gather information, convene, and discuss.

Additionally, as a reminder, the ABS family leave policies allow for an additional 2 weeks of non-clinical time beyond the 4 weeks/year of non-clinical time. The existing family leave policy may be applied to quarantine or illness due to COVID-19. This will not require special permission or approval from the ABS as it complies with the standard leave policies.

Thank you for your cooperation during this time of rapid change and uncertainty. Please contact the ABS office at 215-568-4000 with any questions or concerns.