In response to the request by the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) for comments on proposed revisions to Section VI of the Common Program Requirements, the AASM submitted comments advocating that work hours for all residents should not exceed 16 hours per shift.

In contrast, the ACGME is proposing that clinical and educational work periods for all residents must not exceed 24 hours of continuous scheduled clinical assignments, plus four hours to manage transitions in care. Residents also would be allowed to remain beyond 28 hours to continue to provide care to a single patient or to attend educational events.

The AASM’s comments asserted that decades of sleep and circadian science provide indisputable evidence that performance is compromised by extended wakefulness. These risks were described thoroughly in the 2009 report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies, Resident duty hours: enhancing sleep, supervision, and safety.

The final proposed requirements will be reviewed by the ACGME Board of Directors in February 2017. If approved, the new/revised requirements (Section VI only) will be shared with the graduate medical education community, with an effective date targeted for the 2017-2018 academic year.