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ABS Statement on Training Requirements During COVID-19

Mar. 19, 2020 Media Contact: Alyson Maloney , 215-568-4000

ABS recognizes the enormous uncertainty and the rapid pace of change around this pandemic. We also recognize the collateral damage of concerns around how this will affect training and initial and ongoing certification. Please know that we will release modified policies as we develop them. We simply need more time for this to evolve to see exactly how it will impact training across all of our surgical specialties. The practicing surgeons who make up the ABS specialty boards and council committees are, like many of you, on the front lines fighting this pandemic and protecting the public, and are very aware of these issues.

While it is premature for ABS to set absolute rules or requirements related to training standards and board eligibility, we can say the following:

  • The ABS will develop hardship exemptions to recognize the impact of COVID-19 on both time and case number requirements across all of our specialties.
  • The ABS is looking at alternate delivery platforms for the CE.
  • The ABS is looking at simplifying the application process for the QE, as well as gathering information about alternate delivery platforms, should that be necessary.

Programs are encouraged to identify clinical work for residents who are offsite for any reason, including alternate staffing models, bullpen-type rotations, or self-quarantine or imposed quarantine. This might include follow up phone calls, review or reading of laboratory or radiology results, telemedicine, or directed education. As much as possible, we ask that each program keep track of these activities, as they may help inform our new hardship policies.

The ABS endorses the recent statement from the ACGME.

Our existing leave policies will go far to accommodating many training situations.

ABS honors the medical professionals who are working tirelessly for the benefit of the American public, and we will continue to work to develop solutions that support both trainees and seasoned professionals during this uncertain and challenging time.