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Disaster Policy

I. Purpose of Policy

To define the basic procedures and assigned responsibilities to efficiently and effectively reconstitute and restructure resident training experiences following a disaster at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC). It recognizes that this may necessitate transferring educational experiences to another institution.

II. Policy Scope

This document is intended to complement and coincide with all existing disaster plans at Dartmouth- Hitchcock (D-H).

III. Definitions

Resident: Any physician in an accredited graduate medical education program, including interns, residents, and fellows.


Disaster: An event or set of events causing significant alteration to the residency experience at one or more residency programs.


IV. Policy Statement

  • Declaration of a Disaster
    • The D-H Designated Institutional Official (DIO) will immediately notify the Accreditation Council of Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) of the occurrence of a disaster at D-H.
    • Upon notification from the D-H DIO or another credible source, the ACGME Chief Executive Officer will make a declaration of a disaster. A notice of such will be posted on the ACGME website with information relating to the ACGME response to the disaster.

  • Defined Responsibilities following the Declaration of a Disaster
    • Responsibilities of the D-H DIO:
      • The DIO will immediately convene the Graduate Medical Education Committee (GMEC) and other institutional leadership in order to ascertain the status and operating capabilities of all D-H training programs.
      • Within ten days after the declaration of a disaster, the DIO will contact the ACGME to discuss the due dates that the ACGME will establish for D-H programs to:
        • Submit program reconfigurations to the ACGME, and;
        • Inform each resident of the transfer decision.
        • The due dates for submission shall be no later than thirty days after the disaster unless otherwise approved by the ACGME.
      • The D-H DIO should call or email the Institutional Review Committee Executive Director with information and/or requests for information.

    • Responsibilities of the Program Directors:
      • Immediately verify the health and safety of all residents in their training program and relay this information to the DIO.
      • Arrange temporary transfers to other institutions until such time as D-H is able to resume providing an adequate educational experience.
      • Assist residents in obtaining transfers to other institutions, as needed, in order to continue and complete their training.
      • If a transfer to another institution is necessary and if more than one institution is available, the Program Director will consider the educational needs and preferences of each resident and make their best efforts to find an appropriate training site. Programs must make these transfer decisions expeditiously so as to maximize the likelihood that each resident will finish their training in a timely fashion.
      • At the outset of a temporary resident transfer, the program must inform each transferred resident of the minimum duration and the estimated actual duration of their temporary transfer, and continue to keep each resident informed of such durations. If and when a program decides that a temporary transfer will continue to and/or through the end of a residency year, it must so inform each such transferred resident. Transferred residents will be allowed to return to D-H as soon as the institution is operative, or they may stay at the transferred institution for a reasonable length of time in order to maintain a continuum of their education.
      • Program Directors will make their best efforts to ensure that each transferred resident receives a quality educational experience at their new training site. The Program Director will regularly confer with the residents and program director(s) at the site to make sure that educational needs are being met.
      • The Program Director should call or email the appropriate Review Committee Executive Director with information and/or requests.

    • Responsibilities of the Residents:
      • Residents should contact their Program Director as soon as reasonably possible to verify their current/anticipated location, and any changes to their contact information.
      • Residents should call or email the appropriate Review Committee Executive Director with information and/or requests for information.
      • All transferred residents should refer to instructions on the ACGME Web Accreditation Data System (ADS) to change resident email information.

    • Other Responsibilities Related to GME Preparedness for a Disaster:
      • In order to ensure that all residents have access to funds in the event of a disaster, all residents must elect to receive their paycheck through direct deposit.
      • The institution will continue its responsibility for the continuation of resident benefits.


D-H Policy ID: 11293

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