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Clarification on ACGME Exceptionally-Qualified Applicant Provision for Fellowship Programs & COMLEX-USA

January 11, 2016

(1/11/2016) Today, the ACGME communicated the following language to all ACGME program directors related to the exceptionally-qualified applicant provision, ACGME fellowship programs, and consideration of COMLEX-USA for graduates from AOA-accredited programs with pre-accreditation status. Please see exact language from ACGME below:

The ACGME recognizes that during the transition to the single accreditation system, fellowship program directors may wish to consider applicants who have completed a program with a status of pre-accreditation. The following guidelines are provided to assist program directors in determining whether an individual applicant is eligible for appointment:

 Between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2020, a resident who completes prerequisite training in an AOA-approved program with pre-accreditation status will be subject to the ACGME fellowship eligibility standards (per subspecialty) that were in effect June 30, 2013 or will be in effect July 1, 2016, whichever is less restrictive.

 A number of Review Committees (see here for a list) allow programs to grant an exception to the ACGME Common Program Requirements related to eligibility for prior training that become effective on July 1, 2016.  If an individual applies to a fellowship program  based on the exceptionally qualified applicant provision detailed in the Common Program Requirements and has successfully completed Levels  I, 2, and 3 of COMLEX-USA, he/she will not be required to take USMLE.  If the program director determines that the applicant’s qualifications are acceptable he/she may be appointed to the program. This applies only to graduates of programs with a status of pre-accreditation.

NOTE: Some subspecialties did not in 2013, and will not in 2016, accept as prerequisite training anything other than completion of an ACGME-accredited program.

 *The eligibility criteria for every ACGME-accredited subspecialty that were in effect as of June 30, 2013, that were/are in effect between June 30, 2013 and July 1, 2016, and that will be in effect as of July 1, 2016, are available on the Single GME Accreditation System section of the ACGME website. View the program eligibility requirements