The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) recently released a final set of revisions to Section VI of the Common Program Requirements for all accredited U.S. residency and fellowship programs, eliminating the 16-hour duty period limit for first-year residents. The AASM previously submitted comments advocating that work hours for all residents should not exceed 16 hours per shift because decades of sleep and circadian science provide indisputable evidence that performance is compromised by extended wakefulness.

The final requirements, which go into effect July 1, 2017, establish for all residents a maximum 24-hour clinical work and education period length, plus up to four hours of additional time for activities related to patient safety, such as providing effective transitions of care, and/or resident education. A resident, on their own initiative, also may elect to remain or return to the clinical site to continue to provide care to a single severely ill or unstable patient, to offer humanistic attention to the needs of a patient or family, or to attend unique educational events.