Fitness for Duty/Resident Back-Up Policy

  1. The cardiology fellow will call the fellowship administrator to inform them of his/her illness or situation. The fellow will talk directly to the administrator.  No voicemail messages should be left.
  2. The cardiology fellow will discuss the work type and duration for which coverage is needed. The administrator will discuss with program director to ascertain what responsibilities need to be covered to ensure safe, comprehensive transfer of duties to the covering colleague.
  3. As a general rule, each fellow will be expected to complete an equal share of weekend and holiday calls. If the fellow is unable to meet this responsibility due to illness or another situation as listed above, the fellow will complete the requisite number of calls at a later date as determined by the Program Director.   It should be understood that receiving return coverage is a courtesy but is not an absolute requirement and may not be possible in all situations.  SUNY Upstate Medical University’s institutional policy allows employees to be out for a number of sick days without consequences.  It is in this regard that professionalism and courtesy should exist.
  4. NOTE:  Repayment of coverage may never result in an ACGME or New York State duty hours regulation violation, no matter what the circumstances.
  5. If a fellow is out sick greater than three days, documentation must be brought to the Program Director’s attention within 24 hours of returning to work.  Documentation needs to show the name, date, time, and place where the fellow was seen.  Diagnosis does not need to be disclosed as this information is confidential.  Failure to comply with the documentation requirement could lead to comments regarding professionalism in the final evaluation of the fellow or disciplinary action.
  6. For extended absences/illness, please refer to the institutional policy on Leaves of Absence available on SUNY Upstate’s website. Cardiology fellows should be mindful of individual Board requirements that may set limits on the amount of leave one may take at any level.  In most cases, vacation time cannot be forfeited for leave.
  7. While every attempt will be made to cover a fellow with another fellow, the final authority for patient care and supervision lies with the attending.  In all cases when another fellow cannot cover or cannot be reached, the attending on service will provide this coverage.
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