April 15, 2016

UNM dermatology department loses accreditation

A handful of doctor residents University of New Mexico hospital may have to find a new place to finish their residency.

unm hospital logoThe university confirmed Friday that its Department of Dermatology lost its accreditation.

The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education recently withdrew UNM’s dermatology department’s accreditation, effective June 30, according to the agency’s website.

UNM’s website lists five doctors currently under the dermatology residency, three of whom won’t finish their residencies before the dermatology department’s accreditation expires.

Billy Sparks is a spokesman for UNM’s Health Sciences Center, which includes the university’s School of Medicine. He said the “major reason for loss of accreditation was actually loss of faculty over the past year in a highly competitive national environment.”

“It is being addressed,” Sparks said.

The program, established in 1972, was the only accredited dermatology program for resident doctors in New Mexico.

Accreditation of universities and departments are a way to show that they’re on par educationally and professionally with other established universities. Though a loss of accreditation can prompt the federal government to stop giving financial aid to the institution and lead to its closure, HSC spokesman John Arnold says that will not happen in this case.

Accreditation agencies typically put institutions in jeopardy of losing accreditation on notice and give them a probationary period to fix whatever problems they’re having.

The loss of accreditation comes at a hectic time for HSC. HSC is pushing to build a new hospital, though the state Board of Finance didn’t vote an earlier version of the proposal before, which prevented the new hospital in 2012. UNM recently awarded a $1.5 million contract to an architect to map the build-out of a new facility.

The recent controversial governance change of HSC’s board of directors and attempt by regents to strip HSC Chancellor Paul Roth’s authority has critics questioning whether a new hospital will actually happen.

Updated with clarification about federal funding to HSC not at jeopardy from spokesman John Arnold.