Health & Medicine

Detroit hospital, school losing neurosurgery training permit

A neurosurgery training program at a Detroit hospital has lost its accreditation, jeopardizing the status of the health system and a university medical school.

The Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education this month removed credentials from the Detroit Medical Center's program with Wayne State University after a September site visit.

The accreditation is slated to end on June 30, The Detroit News reported.

Wayne State University School of Medicine Dean Jack Sobel said Thursday that the program will appeal. Neither the council nor Detroit Medical Center, also known as DMC, would comment on why the program was losing its accreditation or how it could restore its credentials.

"We are going to appeal together to recreate a teaching environment, with both sides participating, that will create an optimal teaching environment," Sobel said.

The accreditation loss comes as the relationship between Wayne State and the medical center has been worsening over the past several years. The conflict has put at risk the medical attention provided to many impoverished and underserved residents in one of the nation's poorest metropolitan cities.

Sobel added that Wayne State's top neurosurgical teaching faculty left the college to join the medical center, which then left the school without the necessary teaching credentials to run the program.

"The failure of the residency is a failure of one or two teaching individuals. It's not a conflict between DMC and Wayne State," he said. "This is an outlier," he said, noting that other residency programs are not at risk.

Accreditation loss is rare, particularly for the seven-year residency programs in neurosurgery, with just 218 positions available nationally each year. They train physicians who perform brain and spine surgeries and treat patients with neurological ailments such as stroke, Parkinson's or Alzheimer's disease. Doctors must leave accredited programs to be licensed in their specialty.

Beyond the immediate impact, even a threatened loss of status can influence recruiting. The program is unlikely to rank highly among top surgical candidates who fear it is risky.

The council accredits 11,000 residency programs in the U.S. This year, eight programs' credentials have been withdrawn.

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