Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME)
LCME Recommendation for MD Degree Program
Last fall, the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) recommended that Upstate's undergraduate medical education program be accredited with probationary status. On Feb. 16, that recommendation was finalized.
This does not affect the school's accreditation or its ability to educate medical students and grant degrees.
The decision was primarily based on specific issues related to governance, and was not based on quality or the excellence of our students.
Work is underway to address the concerns from this report, with 100 faculty, staff and students already assigned to committees. Upstate expects to exceed the standards when the LCME reviews the program again next year. The medical education program has been and remains fully accredited during this process.
While schools are not required to share LCME recommendations, Upstate leadership opted to disclose this information last October.
The LCME is one of the many accrediting bodies that oversee education programs, and no other program at Upstate is affected by this decision. Overall, SUNY Upstate Medical University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, with citations for excellence in governance, assessment, and student support services. All educational programs are registered through the New York State Department of Education and are approved by the Veterans Administration for the training of veterans under Public Law 98-358. Individual degree programs and colleges carry their own accreditations as well.
FAQs on the LCME Recommendation
Click on a question to view an answer.
What is the background of this situation?
In spring 2011, our College of Medicine underwent the accreditation review process, which involved an extensive self-study and a site visit from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME). On October 18, 2011, in a formal letter, the LCME informed us that it recommended probationary status for our undergraduate medical education program. The final decision that our accreditation will continue but would be on probation was made by LCME on February 16, 2012.
Why did the LCME recommend probation?
The LCME's recommendation cited three general areas of concern, and these fall mostly in administrative areas: governance of the curriculum; management and comparability of clerkships at the two campuses; and communication of specific policies. It is important to emphasize that our College remains fully accredited and that the quality of the education was not cited. Further, Upstate is accredited by a number of agencies, including the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, which recently re-accredited Upstate for a full 10-year term for meeting standards of excellence in areas such as governance, assessment, and student support services.
What does it mean to be on probation?
Programs placed on probation retain their accredited status. It is expected that compliance with the cited standards will be realized within 18 months and probation will be removed.
What are the chances of Upstate losing its accreditation?
Probation and loss of accreditation are VERY different things. A number of schools, many of which are quite prestigious, have been placed on probation in the last several years. Upstate will remain accredited throughout its probationary period. While many schools have been recommended for probation and have been placed on probation, in the history of the LCME loss of accreditation has only been advanced once, to an offshore medical school.
In addition, the leadership, faculty and staff are committed to bring us into full compliance with the LCME standards and to exceed those standards. We have a plan of action and have already implemented changes.
Why should I come to Upstate?
For the same reasons you applied: An impressive academic program that produces quality physicians who are placed in competitive residency programs. The quality of educational program is not in question here. In fact, LCME site visitors remarked on the quality of teaching. Student performance on licensure exams and residency match rates are above national means. That quality and those outcomes have not changed.
What exactly is the administration doing to address the concerns of the LCME?
Many changes have already been made and we are committed to a fast track for vigorously and thoroughly addressing all concerns. We will be asking for the earliest possible review by the LCME to remove our probationary status.
When the recommendation was sent to Upstate there was a change of leadership. Also, to address an LCME concern, a Task Force on Governance, comprised of faculty leaders and department chairs, submitted a recommendation for more centralized government and authority to the interim dean. Deans from both Upstate's campuses and clinical department chairs are working on alignment and quality oversight in the clerkships.
Work is well underway, with 100 faculty, staff and students assigned to committee. Upstate expects to exceed the standards when the LCME reviews the program again next year.
Dean, College of Medicine