National Physicians Alliance

Committed to Advancing the Core Values of the Medical Profession:

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Resident Hours Cap Change – Speak out to ACGME

Posted by Becky Martin, NPA Interim Operations Director September 22, 2016 at 12:40 PM

On September 22, the NPA sent a letter to the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) as they consider whether to eliminate the 16 consecutive hour cap on first year residents’ shifts instituted in 2011. This decision was made in response to a 2009 Institute of Medicine report linking sleep deprivation with medical error and recommending residents work no more than 16 hour shifts. The ACGME instituted this rule for first year residents only. At their upcoming Board meeting, they will reconsider this decision.

Public Citizen conducted a national public opinion poll 1 that showed the vast majority (86%) of respondents (i.e., patients) is also opposed to lifting this cap. Since our founding, the NPA has prioritized the patient perspective in our policies, and this polling showed overwhelming, bipartisan consensus amongst our patients that they want well-rested physicians working with them.

Evidence demonstrates that not only is the public safer with rested doctors who are less likely to make mistakes, but residents are safer and healthier with commonsense work restrictions as well.

Please write the ACGME and express your opinion as well, email:



1 Public Citizen and Lake Research Partners. Bipartisan Consensus: The Public Wants Well-Rested Medical Residents to Help Ensure Safe Patient Care. September 13, 2016.


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