"The issues raised by duty hours extend well beyond job safety," Pollack wrote.

AHA Asks OSHA Not to Regulate Residents' Hours

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education "remains the best-positioned entity to perform this critical function," Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote in his letter to Dr. David Michaels.

The American Hospital Association has sent a letter to OSHA Administrator Dr. David Michaels asking that OSHA deny a recent petition requesting that it set and enforce duty hours for resident physicians. Writing Nov. 16, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education "remains the best-positioned entity to perform this critical function."

ACGME is overseen by five organizations -- the American Board of Medical Specialties, American Medical Association, Association of American Medical Colleges, AHA itself, and the Council of Medical Specialty Societies -- and accredits about 8,800 graduate medical education residency programs, Pollack wrote, adding that those programs cover more than 106,000 residents and fellows at more than 680 institutions nationwide.

Public Citizen and two other organizations submitted the petition to OSHA on Sept. 2.

"The issues raised by duty hours extend well beyond job safety," Pollack wrote. "Critical considerations also involve how best to ensure that interns and residents are prepared to become full-fledged competent medical professionals." He said duty hours "cannot be considered in isolation from ACGME's other standards and oversight of graduate medical education."

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