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Effective Friday, Crozer-Chester Medical Center will end its surgical residency program. The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education stripped the languishing hospital of its certification.
The national oversight group cited “special circumstances” for shuttering the program at Crozer Health’s flagship hospital. This leaves the status of the hospital’s 15 surgical residents up in the air.
This is the latest in the series of relentless blows to Crozer Health.
The four-hospital system has been bleeding resources and shuttering services under the ownership of Prospect Medical Holdings. Plagued by financial issues and lawsuits driven by its decision to close Delaware County Memorial Hospital, Crozer is a shell of its former self.
The loss of a surgical residency program could throw hurdles at Prospect’s ability to sell Crozer to a new owner. According to ACGME, its last site visit to Crozer-Chester was in November.
Some time in between then and earlier this year, the organization decided to pull the accreditation.
“Due to confidentiality between the ACGME and its accredited programs and institutions, it cannot share details behind accreditation decisions beyond what is on this site but the program/institution may share what they are comfortable with,” said Susan Holub, vice president of communications for ACGME.
Lori Bookbinder, a spokesperson for Crozer, did not respond to multiple requests for comment.
Dr. Safiyya Shabazz, president of the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania, is worried about what this certification withdrawal could mean for the future of Crozer-Chester’s surgical residents. Founded in 1961, the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania is an affiliate of the National Medical Association, which is the oldest and largest association of Black physicians in the country. The goal of MSEP is to increase diversity in the field of medicine and to advocate on behalf of the Black community. Chester, which does not have an abundance of primary care physicians, is one of the communities that depends on the hospital for health needs.
“This is terrible for those trainees. You cannot practice medicine in the United States without completing some level of residency training in order to get a license,” Shabazz said. “They cannot be surgeons without completing a surgical residency somewhere. And as far as they’ve gotten — many of them have accumulated hundreds of thousands of dollars in student loans to become physicians and they cannot progress through the next level and serve their community without completing a surgical residency somewhere.”