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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Arizona Medical Association president urges Ducey to take action with UA College of Medicine-Phoenix accreditation


Courtesy of Governor Doug Ducey

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, left, in Mexico City. The president of the Arizona Medical Association recently wrote a letter to Ducey and The Arizona Republic regarding concerns about the accreditation status of the UA College of Medicine—Phoenix.

The president of the Arizona Medical Association, Dr. Nathan Laufer, sent a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey’s office and to The Arizona Republic concerning the accreditation issues of the UA College of Medicine–Phoenix.

The letter was in regard to a warning issued by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education, the organization responsible for accrediting the medical school. The warning pointed out a number of flaws in the governing practices of the Phoenix campus, and set a Dec. 1, 2016 deadline for a progress report detailing the fixes made, as well as a June 2016 deadline to “demonstrate progress toward compliance.”

Aside from 10 of the 22 department chairs being vacant, a large sticking point in the LCME’s evaluation of the campus was rooted in February’s Banner Health and University of Arizona Health Network merger. Specifically, the LCME was looking at the need for a clarification of power and responsibility between the dean and the Academic Management Council, a new decision-making group comprised of representatives from UA and Banner Health.

Laufer’s Sep. 1 letter began by praising the “excelling” medical school.

“I have watched the progress of the Phoenix medical school with pride and have long felt it was clear to all that a professional, excelling medical school is evolving in downtown Phoenix,” Laufer wrote in his letter.

Laufer expressed his worry that leadership from Banner Health and the UA are out of sync with their combined goals. He went on to state that he is concerned that policymakers from within Banner are jeopardizing the school’s future in the name of growing the organization.

“The article [by Ken Alltucker, Arizona Republic] depicts decision makers outside of the Phoenix medical school’s leadership risking its future for what I can only presume are their own growth and control needs,” Laufer wrote in the letter.

Laufer recommended that Ducey form a task force comprised of members from the Arizona Board of Regents and a nationally acknowledged expert on the LCME’s accreditation expectations.

When asked if the UA felt that action from Ducey and the board of regents was necessary, University Relations Vice President Chris Sigurdson said that the decision to get involved is solely at the discretion of the governor and the board of regents.

The Office of the Arizona Governor and the board of regents both declined to comment at this time.

Follow Sam Gross on Twitter.

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