Disaster Policy

This policy describes the measures to be followed in order to provide residents with a quality education and enable them to complete their program requirements within the usual period of time in the event of circumstances (e.g., a natural disaster) that significantly alter the educational environment and experience. Such events may include but are not limited to natural disasters or other events that result in physical damage to PCOM facilities or training sites or significant disruption to patient care.

At the time of the disaster, residents must participate in the response according to the Emergency Operating Plans of the site. The Designated Institutional Official (DIO) will promptly provide to the GMEC and to individual program directors the information needed to determine if a transfer of some or all of the residents in a specific program to another program is required. Subject to American Osteopathic Association (AOA), Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME), Review Committee (RC), and American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) regulations and policies, in the event that patient care is significantly disrupted at PCOM campus or training sites, to the extent possible residents will be redeployed to another working campus provided that such transfer does not jeopardize the experience of the residents at the receiving campus. Residents that exceed the capacity of the receiving campus to provide effective residency education will be subject to the procedure described below in the event of interruption of care.

If patient care activities are disrupted across PCOM training sites, the DIO will identify nearby institutions to which residents can be safely moved for temporary redeployment according to their educational requirements. The DIO will require input from the program directors of each affected training program as to the curricular needs of each resident with consideration of their levels of training. Every effort will be made to find temporary placement in an appropriate educational environment and a safe and secure living environment in coordination with the receiving program. Residents will continue to receive salary support and benefits through PCOM. 

If such temporary educational experiences cannot be established within a reasonable amount of time following the disaster, then permanent transfers will be arranged. Financial and educational documentation will be provided by PCOM.

The DIO, or if unavailable, an identified alternate DIO, will be the primary institutional contact with the AOA and ACGME. The Institutional Review Committee Executive Director will be the primary contact regarding the declaration of a disaster, the development of the disaster plan and implementation to meet the needs within PCOM. In addition, within ten days of the declaration of the disaster, the DIO or alternate DIO, working together with the program director(s), will submit a plan for program reconfiguration to the AOA and ACGME and inform each program's residents of their transfer decisions. Due dates for submission of the program reconfiguration shall be no later than 30 days after the disaster without AOA or ACGME forbearance.

The Program Director and impacted PCOM residents or fellows must contact the ABMS, and AOA or ACGME no later than 30 days after the disaster to confirm any impact on board eligibility.

The institutional residency management software E-Value will be used to track PCOM residents' progress during this redeployment. Program directors will be given the support they need to make sure residents that are assigned to remote sites are provided satisfactory faculty supervision and the opportunity for ongoing mentorship from their home directors. Resident evaluations will be completed by faculty at the remote site but will be collected and maintained by the program director. All programs must maintain an active communication network.

Residents will be brought back to the institution at the earliest opportunity. Any academic time lost for a given resident will be made up when necessary as per the policies of the specific specialty board on a case by case basis. To the extent permitted by the AOA, ACGME, RC, and ABMS, PCOM will provide positions and support for such individuals whose educational experience must be extended because of lost academic time.

If disasters affect other sponsoring institutions of GME, the program leadership of programs in good standing as identified by PCOM will work collaboratively with PCOM to coordinate our ability to accept transfers of residents/fellows from affected institutions. This will include AOA and ACGME complement adjustments and other regulatory adjustments. In addition, PCOM will arrange the home/host relationship and the required documentation for such transfers.