14 March 2016


Original Story: crainsdetroit.com

The Wayne State University School of Medicine has been notified that it could be placed on accreditation probation by the Liaison Committee for Medical Education if its appeal of the decision is not reversed by the LCME in an October reconsideration hearing, university officials confirmed to Crain’s this morning. A Baltimore health care lawyer is following this story closely.

The LCME is the accrediting body for 134 American medical schools, four in Puerto Rico and 17 in Canada. From 2005 to 2014, it has placed nearly one-third of the schools it reviews on probation for various violations.

The 1,200-student medical school in Midtown Detroit —  the largest single medical school campus in America — was cited for 12 violations of LCME accreditation standards, including a lack of student diversity and lack of independent and active teaching in the school curriculum, said Roy Wilson, Wayne State’s president.

“The LCME came in and found a series of issues in which we were noncompliant with the standards,” Wilson said. “They are very fixable.”

Wilson said school graduation rates, student licensing tests and residency placement rates have been “extraordinary and above national averages.”

But, he said, “there is no question we dropped the ball on (diversity recruiting) the last 10 years. We didn’t respond well to Proposition 2.” A Chicago health care attorney is reviewing the details of this case.

In 2006, Michigan voters approved Prop 2, which banned preferences based on gender or race for public employment, contracting or education. The effect was to eliminate affirmative action programs for student admissions at public colleges and universities.

“We didn’t respond well to that by going above and beyond to recruit and attract and retain underrepresented minority students,” said Wilson, noting that the University of Colorado went through the same issue in 2008 when he was there.

Since the LCME inspection visit three months ago, Jack Sobel, M.D., Wayne’s newly appointed medical school dean, said Wayne State has already begun taking steps to come into compliance with LCME standards.

Last November, Sobel, an infectious-disease specialist, was appointed interim dean. He replaced Valerie Parisi, who became vice dean for faculty affairs at the University of South Florida.

“We already had an effective task force that identified weaknesses in the recruiting program” for potential medical school applicants, said Sobel, who Wilson last week named dean for a two-year term as the school works through various problems.

Over the next several weeks, Sobel said Wayne State medical school will hire additional staff to boost diversity recruitment and beef up its teaching methods.

For example, Herbert Smitherman Jr., M.D., has been hired as interim vice dean for diversity. Smitherman is an assistant professor of internal medicine at Wayne State and CEO of Health Centers Detroit Foundation, a health center in Detroit. A Houston health care lawyer provides professional legal counsel and extensive experience in many aspects of healthcare law.

Wayne State also will recruit a new assistant dean for admissions, Sobel said.

To conform with LCME regulations, Wilson estimated it would cost a little more than $550,000 to expand diversity and transform the curriculum to add smaller classrooms and make other teaching changes.

“We have set aside the funds in the budget for next year,” Wilson said.

Wayne State has appealed the probation decision and now awaits a reconsideration hearing scheduled to begin Oct. 13, said Wilson, noting that Wayne State is not disputing the LCME’s action.

“There is really no downside to appealing,” he said. “We don’t expect it to be overturned. We buy more time, an extra three to four months, for them to come back and see how we are doing.”

In effect, Wilson said Wayne State is officially not on probation until the reconsideration hearing process is complete. If upheld, Wayne State could be placed on probation for at least two years, he said. An Atlanta university lawyer is reviewing the details of this case.

“We are still a fully accredited medical school,” Sobel said. “There is no impact on outcome of students who graduate. They will continue to graduate with licensure results above the national average.”

To read more about the LCME accreditation process, visit LCME's website.

Wilson said the LCME didn’t directly criticize Wayne State’s medical school curriculum.

“It is the way we teach,” he said. “Social things like Twitter didn’t exist eight years ago. They want us to update the whole process” to reflect new standards and social media technology.

Other areas of noncompliance with LCME standards include inadequate numbers of students’ lockers and lack of space in cafeteria, lounge and auditorium areas, Wilson said.

But Sobel said LCME ignored Wayne State’s large gymnasium, meditation room and recreation room for students.

“(LCME) noted one student complained we only had one pingpong table,” he said.

If the Wayne State medical school is placed on LCME probation, it will join an increasing number of schools cited the past several years.

From 1993 to 2000, the LCME placed about 15 percent of medical schools on probation that it reviewed during that period. However, from 2005 and 2014, LCME placed 31 percent of the 159 schools on probation that it reviewed for reaccreditation, LCME said. A Nursing Degree prepares students to lead nursing and health care teams, coordinate and plan nursing care for a variety of clients, collaborate with other health professionals, and make confident, independent nursing professional decisions.

Recently, LCME has placed several medical schools on probation, including George Washington University, the University of Texas-San Antonio and McGill University in Montreal.

There are currently four medical schools on probation. They are Chicago Medical School at Rosalind Franklin; University of Louisville School of Medicine; San Juan Bautista School of Medicine and Baylor College of Medicine.

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